Ok, so my last post was a little dramatic. I’m sorry. I had done some work on my workbench and I was blaming my tools and society for the poor job I was doing. I am still a little young and hotheaded (oh sure, like you weren’t) and getting started with woodworking has been very overwhelming for me. For some reason I expected to create a masterpiece right out of the gate. I expected to be able to spend a couple of dollars on basic tools and begin pumping out the designs I had in my head and sketchup. Well that hasn’t worked. There is just so much information out there on every topic of woodworking that trying to keep all of the details straight to make sure that I got it right was starting to feel like I was digging myself into a hole I couldn’t climb out of.
Then I went to the Woodworking show in Reading PA over the weekend and I drastically changed the view of the progress I am making.
One person can make a difference
The woodworking show itself was great. There were vendors and education seminars that touched on many aspects of woodworking. As a hand tool woodworker I spent most of my time attending Graham Blackburn’s demos of hand planes. He was simply amazing. His witty delivery and incisive commentary on cultural phenomenon is reminiscent of Roy Underhill but is still a style uniquely his own. He was extremely patient when answering the questions of this novice and his simple techniques and principles helped to soothe my overstimulated brain. The most amazing thing was that after all of the years he has spent as a woodworker, his excitement about the craftsmanship and quality tools was still visible and easily spread among the crowd. He helped me see that I didn’t need the top of the line tools to start out and that my delusions that everything had to be complicated were unfounded.
A new beginning
I had to look back to see the future clearly. I have been slowly building my shop and creating the tools I needed to start building projects. Barring my upcoming saw purchase, the last few pieces such as the shooting/trimming board and the bench clamp will complete the basic tool set for making simple cuts and miters. I have a renewed interest in simplifying and honing my technique and taking my time throughout the project. I am still excited about woodworking and (almost) every time I work in my shop I am smiling the whole time. I just have to be careful not to let the excitement get the better of me and make me rush through things.
A solid plan
I know what I have to do now. I need to spend less time on the computer and more time in the shop. Since there never seems to be enough time I need to be patient and know that I will get done what I need, just maybe not as quickly as I would like.
And remember, although it might not seem like much, talking to someone who knows what they are doing is worth more than a month’s worth of google searches. And for all of you master craftsmen out there creating wonderful pieces; thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and helping to keep this amazing trade alive.