... as I’ve heard some hand-tool users call it. Yes – I’m talking power tools.
Mind you, I have a fair set of power tools now, but my initial intentions for this hobby was to learn the craft via hand tools. However, the more I read, learn and do woodworking the more I’m drawn in to, not only the ease of use, but also the plethora of information available for power tools. Seems that every tutorial I pick up involves some use of a power tool, beit a table-saw, drill-press, router, etc.
As my wife so eloquently reminded me last night – I’m not getting any younger and by the time I get, learn and master the hand tools needed to complete a project I’ll need to build myself a stand to keep me vertical in front of the workbench.
So, couldn’t sleep last night thinking about this and have decided that I want to ‘practice’ woodworking (sounds like a doctor eh!) in whatever way allows me to build stuff right now. Don’t get me wrong – I still want to learn as much as possible about using hand tools and lets face it, there are times when a hand tool can’t be beat, but, I am conceding to the fact that power tools just make the job easier, faster and more repeatably accurate. All valuable to a beginner like me.
I think that’s why I’ve been secretly (even to me) building my flotilla of power tools. First it was a compound mitre saw that I got new, but practically free (that’s another story and what started this insanity), then a set of Ridgid 18V power tools (six or seven tools I believe), then the Ridgid table saw, a free 6” jointer. Now I’m looking at a planer which will get me real close to the dark side with little chance of turning back.
The thing is, I’m comfortable with this decision. I enjoy working with my hands, even though they lack skill. I enjoy the smell of freshly sawn wood, whether its from a table saw or hand-saw. And I enjoy admiring my finished projects even with all the faults that only you and I would see – well, maybe a few other too.
Funny thing is, I’ve been a professional photographer for over 20 years now and also run photography workshops. I see the same passion in my students eyes for photography that I now have for woodworking. I’m swiftly sliding down the slippery slope of tool acquirement, hoping that the next tool I purchase will take me to the next plateau I so need to achieve. I’m a student again, a beginner, and as dangerous as a white belt in a karate class (they’re the most dangerous you know – they don’t know how to control their punches!)
But being a professional photographer, with all the gizmos, gadgets (you would call them clamps and jigs) and power-tools available (BIG megapixel cameras) – I know the real talent lies with those that have patience, learn the craft from the basics up and understand (and appreciate) the journey of building not only projects, but skill and knowledge too.
After all, I don’t develop film and prints in a darkroom any longer – I’m DIGITAL!
-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario