It’s been awhile, fellow jocks. Too long, if I do say so myself. So, let’s get up to speed. The last time I rambled to you fine folks, I had made the decision to transition out of journalism and into carpentry. Since I couldn’t get into the local tech school thanks to a few missed deadlines, I got hooked up with a rough carpentry crew thinking I’d learn some basic skills that would pay off down the road when I finally own and renovate my own home.
So much for that; turned out to be a miserable experience, devoid of any instruction and, ultimately, any pay.
Followed that by taking on some orders for a store on my street, building simple display furniture (shelves, cabinets, etc). Fun, somewhat fulfilling and it put a little money in my wallet but unfortunately, the limitations of my shop (Wisconsin; Outdoors; Etc) brought that work to a slow crawl.
So naturally, I was excited when I learned of a community woodshop opening near me. A brilliant, novel idea. It was perfect for people like me who lack space to work, finances for high-end equipment or even know-how but have plenty of eagerness to practice the craft and learn all they could.
Well, one would think it a perfect fit. Instead, the focus is on high-end crafters; you know, people who already have their own shops, their own tools and the financial wherewithal to obtain what they don’t have. Not a place for beginners to get their feet wet, cobble together some pallet wood and pine projects and actually discover a love for the hobby.
Getting to my point: what is it about the realm of ‘fine woodworking’ that leads people to snub their noses so much at beginners, novices or weekend warriors? No, pine boards and pocket screws do not make for fine woodworking. Nor should they. But why does that segment of the craft always seem to get shunned? Is it so hard to comprehend that some people lack the time, money, space and experience to create beautiful, dovetailed joints and for the time being, are happy just being able to build a little table for their kid to color on? Or a stepstool for their wife to reach the top shelf? Or a stinking plywood beer tote?
An aside, here: for the most part, you folks on LJ’s are the exception to the above rant. I’ve found it to be nothing but an encouraging, reassuring, resrouceful, educational and welcoming community. But, go to Rockler, go to Woodcraft or even the local Guild meeting and it’s pretty obvious that, if you use a Kreg jig or construction lumber, you’re not welcome.
People often wonder why interest in the skilled trades is waining in this technological age, and this is a prime example why: the few that actually show an interest are turned away for not being “good enough.” It’s disappointing, it’s insulting and it’s really sad.
Thus ends my rant sorry for venting here, I try to keep things positive on this board but I’m kind of fed up right now.
Hopefully, cobbling together some slop with brad nails and scrap pine will sooth the anger.
-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.