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Woodworking blog entries tagged with 'distance mastery'

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A Strategy for Woodworking #55: As If

06-15-2015 09:52 PM by Gary Rogowski | 1 comment »

I haven’t practiced sawing in a while. As if that makes any difference. It does. I will get to the bench and try my hand at a dovetail and I won’t know where exactly to put my feet. Or rather, I put my feet where I think they’re supposed to go and they don’t feel quite right. Or I don’t feel right and I’m thinking about how to stand instead of standing and cutting. First tail gets done. I start to cut the second tail and I start to feel that things are getting right again. I launch into th...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #51: Taking Down a Tree

05-14-2015 02:32 AM by Gary Rogowski | 4 comments »

I hate cutting down trees. As much as I love the wood that comes from them, there is still something about cutting down a tree that seems to me an affront. A crime against the sky. Certainly it is a loss of some valuable shade in the heat of the sun. And it changes a landscape, a street view. But it was half dead and once cut, discovered to be rotten inside. It had to come down now in a noisy if controlled fashion rather than taking out someone’s car some chance day. It was a good sized tr...

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The Shape of Things

12-08-2014 04:14 PM by Gary Rogowski | 2 comments »

How many ways are there to shape a leg? To follow a line down to solid earth or to take a sinuous climb up its curve. To have the grain follow the line with careful choice of material and to accentuate the flow. Or to give it the role of foundation, holder, rock. You are the designer. Make your choices. Distance Mastery Program

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A Strategy for Woodworking #36: Discontent

11-24-2014 04:09 PM by Gary Rogowski | 5 comments »

Discontent is the key to success, not satisfaction. To do more than you did before is what creation is about. To do the job better than the last time, to create something more special, or to walk new ground. This is what comes from our seasons of discontent. If we say to ourselves, I have learned enough. I am now the master of my craft, you have lost touch with that spark that keeps us creating. Satisfaction doesn’t spur us to do more. It leads us only to the couch. Keep trying to do be...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #33: Simple is Complex

10-27-2014 02:25 PM by Gary Rogowski | 7 comments »

All projects need refinement, lightness, simplicity. I tell my Mastery students often in a critique to lose 10% of their design. Sometimes 20%. Mass is not always required for strength. Careful engineering is required. Where can you remove material? Adding lightness and simplicity is a difficult chore. How much work do you need to do to make something simple? How do you know what is unessential in a piece? Where do you stop? Make copies. Make models, drawings. Try one thing and then ...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #32: Finishing up

10-25-2014 05:12 PM by Gary Rogowski | 4 comments »

There is no better feeling in the world than wrapping up a project. Saying to yourself: Enough. They’re done. I can do no better than this. Go out into the world and hold people up. Feels good. The Northwest Woodworking Studio

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A Strategy for Woodworking #31: Slow Furniture Movement

10-20-2014 02:38 PM by Gary Rogowski | 4 comments »

Why not a slow furniture movement? An early aphorism I placed in our literature was a quote from John Ruskin: “When we build, let us think that we build forever.” This is a sentiment I am fully in support of particularly these days when you see a “modern” building go up and 5 years later, they’re replacing the siding on it. There’s quality today for you. But one of my Mastery students quoted Ruskin in a different way that I think is equally valid. Perhaps you’ll agree: When we bui...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #30: Quality

10-16-2014 02:49 PM by Gary Rogowski | 4 comments »

Dream all you like. Think about what it would be like to be skilled in a craft. But skill is gained only by work. Mastery comes after years of study, the rewards through discipline & sacrifice. Sigh. Quality work does not come through an afternoon’s study. It is the work of a lifetime. And why not? What great skilled worker learned their craft in a weekend? What musician became masterful in a few hours of study? It is this very process of learning your skill, of practicing you...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #29: Gathering

10-09-2014 01:41 PM by Gary Rogowski | 1 comment »

It is autumn, once our gathering time. For collecting ideas, it is always time. There is a designed world all around us. Ideas hanging from the rooftops and tree branches and scattered on the ground below our feet. A designed universe whether created by your particular deity or Ma nature or random atoms smashing together: the design of the world is astonishing. The key to it is opening your eyes. Look for forms, find patterns, see the symmetry around us. In the flock of birds, the march of...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #28: Deadlines

09-29-2014 04:44 PM by Gary Rogowski | 2 comments »

Deadlines are critical to working. Without one I let jobs slide for days, months, years. I have no deadline to fix my house and therefore I get little done on it but basic maintenance. The big jobs I am still considering. So too with furniture projects. Without a deadline, most of us let the idea simmer on a back burner for a good long while. Our Mastery students have had this Thursday’s show date as their own deadline since beginning the program. Displayed this Thursday at the Studio from...

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