One Year Ago: Last Video Footage of Chris

Dear Carpentry Way community (that means you!),

First, congratulations on making it through a year of pandemic life! It’s been an incredibly difficult year in most parts of the world, and I’m glad you are here and reading this.

Thank you so much for the continued, wonderful messages about Chris or to let me know you are thinking about Ryden and me, even though often we have never met and may have never even set foot in the same country. It’s truly inspiring to me to continue to discover Chris’s legacy, almost a year after he died. Part of that legacy is all of the amazing people.

Also, if you sent me a message through the blog and i didn’t reply, it’s probably because I JUST found that there are over 200 messages in a separate section that I didn’t know about. I check Chris’s email but had no idea about these messages! i am going through them now!

One year ago, Chris was in hospice at home. The United States was in lockdown from COVID, and his closest friends could not visit. He was fading… I decided to ask Chris a few questions about one of his favorite subjects – milling machines – and film our conversation. His brain tumors were affecting his mental capacity by then and he was in pain all the time, only two and a half weeks before he died. However, he is surprisingly lucid in this conversation and focuses on why milling machines are so versatile and useful.

This is not high quality video: it’s taken on my phone and my “uh huh’s” and “yeah’s” are loud because I’m holding the phone. It’s also…sad. But I thought that many of you would want the opportunity to see this. It feels like a strangely intimate moment in some ways, even though we’re talking about milling machines. It’s a window into Chris’s final days, which very few people got to see in person because of COVID.

With that ringing endorsement, here you go…

With love, Ilana

I will have some lighter material to post coming up!

13 Replies to “One Year Ago: Last Video Footage of Chris”

  1. Hi Ilana, Thanks for posting this. It was painful but appreciated. He is right about milling machines, they have many uses in woodworking. I hope that you and Ryden are doing well. All the best to you guys.

    1. Mark, great to hear from you! Thank you thinking of us and sending our good wishes back to you.

  2. I think of Chris often as I notice things I do in the shop that remind me of what he taught me and so many others over the years he had his blog.
    Thank you so much for keeping the blog alive where we can go back and visit with Chris and look again at all he has shared with the woodworking community.
    Much love to you and Ryden at this time that weights heavily on all our hearts.

    Charlie & Mary Mastro

  3. Charlie, thank you so much for continuing to think of Chris and for sending your love. I am really glad that so many people are still reading the blog and getting something out of Chris’s writing. Always good to hear from you and my best wishes to you and Mary.

  4. Thanks for posting your video. Chris was playing chess when many played checkers…he had a deep mind and I am one of many who appreciate how he always pushed the envelope.

    1. Thank you very much for the comment, Tico. That is a wonderful way to describe Chris. Good to hear from you and hope you are well!
      All my best,
      Ilana (posting from Chris’s account this time)

  5. Dear Ilana,

    Thank you for sharing this video with all of us.

    It is wonderful to see and hear Chris being so present in the moment with such clarity and calmness. Which I think was due to your love and care for him.

    I hope that you, Ryden and your extended family are all safe and well.

    Take care and all the very best.


  6. Dear Herbert,

    Great to hear from you, as always, and thank you for your kind words. We are doing well considering everything this year, and I hope you and your family are also well.

    If you are interested in doing a guest post about the loom project, or if you think Nevan might be, just let me know!

    All my best,
    Ilana (logged in as Chris)

  7. Dear Ilana, thank you for sharing the video and keeping The Carpentry Way blog running. I hope to keep learning for many years to come from reading and re-reading Chris’s writing. Chris inspired me to add a milling machine to my woodworking shop and while mine is a much smaller machine than the Zimmermann, it has added wonderful capabilities to my shop.

    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Greg, Ilana here. Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so glad to see that you are enjoying having a milling machine in your shop and getting good use out of it. Smaller than the Zimmerman is probably a very good idea – that thing was a beast! Keep reading and feel free to be in touch any time.
      Best wishes,

  8. Holy crap! I’ve been out of the scene for a bit so I had no idea about Chris. I’m pretty sure I paid for a couple of his TAJCD series but everything went up in smoke when I lost my hard drive.

    Please accept my late condolences. I never got to me Chris, but we had a few email exchanges about various topics.

    He was a true shokunin and I considered him a friend.

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