So here I sit, less two wisdom teeth, browsing through Lumberjocks gazing at projects, reading the forum, checking blogs and taking stock of where I am at. My journey as an amateur woodworker has barely started and I have been exposed, through this site, to more methods, techniques and projects than would normally be possible even in traditional education.
Now I’m not saying that the education I’ve gained here passes up what I would get at Inside Passage, or College of the Redwoods, or the east coast equivalents. But, the exposure to methods, thoughts, ideas, styles, woods, and most of all the enthusiasm that a large group of people who truly enjoy what they do brings is priceless. I can read a post from Frank, see the beautiful prose and the passion of working wood. Then I can see a beautiful box from DocK. Then I can read a discussion about powered carving bits, something I know absolutely nothing about.
Now think how amazing it is to get this many views, to learn of so many techniques and methods to work the common denominator we all love. Wood.
Picture if you would an apprentice in a 17th century workshop. He will learn from a small, select, and extremely talented group of people. The styles will be limited to one particular area, the instructions and critiquing will come from a small group of people. He may hear of methods used in a far off land, or see some small pieces of tropical woods, but overall his work will be similiar to those who taught him.
Today the internet is part of my apprenticeship into woodworking. Instead of one or two guildmasters I have hundreds, thousands. I can be inspired by Frank, read the prose, feel the wood sing in my heart and yearn to hold it in my hands. I often times just click the “Roll the Dice” tab on the front page and see the beautfiul work before me. In those short few minutes I can be exposed to so many wonderful works of art that it is stunning. Especially interesting is MsDebbieP and her tours, travels and general happy thoughts.
Of course there are parts of the apprenticeship that are lacking, the hands on, right there beside you type learning. The critiquing, which is an essential thing in any work. As it stands I am my own worse critic, but when I do something wrong I don’t have that experienced master to scold, but also point out the deficiencies and provide the solutions. Our internet culture has a difficult time accentuating the nuances of conversation, the slight nod, or wink that can lighten a conversation. That essential of body language is difficult to get across on the net, so we strive for politeness to counter the far crossed emotions that can’t be portrayed.
So now I sit here, inspired, interested, and enjoying myself.
Thank you Lumberjocks and Lumberjockettes.
-- Casey, Engineer, Escanaba, MI