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Woodworking blog entries tagged with 'northwest woodworking'

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A Strategy for Woodworking #58: Liberal Arts Education

08-24-2015 04:35 PM by Gary Rogowski | 5 comments »

In working with high school interns last year, I was asked to write about our program. I sent this in to a local newspaper. It sums up my feelings about a liberal arts education. Why I Did the WIN ClassLetter to the Albany Democrat Herald, 2014 What was great was to see how excited these kids were to learn. They listened to me talk about geometry and physics. They asked questions about these subjects. They listened to me talk about joinery and cutting angles. They were to a person all ...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #57: The Battleship

08-03-2015 02:55 PM by Gary Rogowski | 12 comments »

Projects come, projects stay. I walked around the shop one day to count the projects I had started only to put down for one reason or another. I got depressed by the number 20. Unfinished for any number of reasons. I cut a panel too short on one. I wasn’t sure of the curve of another. Not hard to make a new panel, 0r try to mock up the curve. That logic does not fly in the face of a simple defeat. I just let the projects linger, go to your corner. What is it that stumps me? Probably this ...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #56: Chair Design, Please Sit

07-28-2015 03:46 PM by Gary Rogowski | 1 comment »

Chair design is a fairly new design concept. Read Witold Rybczynski’s book called Home and he points out that chairs were used only by royalty for centuries. The idea of comfort only came later on after the Middle Ages. The notion that people could sit unceremoniously slouched around a dinner table took a few more centuries to take hold. We discover the intricacies of chair design this weekend. Three days of design, engineering, and joinery. What a trio! On Day One we look into the n...

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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 #54: Being in the Shop

06-08-2015 01:21 PM by Gary Rogowski | 7 comments »

I cannot tell what woodworking does for most people. For some it is a simple hobby. It is a pastime where you get to work with some tools and build something nice or useful. For others it’s a job, how you make your money and provide for your family. Still for other woodworkers I think it is an important escape from the world. The shop becomes a spot where you can finally be in control for a change. You alone are responsible for the failures and successes at the bench. You get the credit fo...

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Humility and Ignorance

06-02-2015 02:28 PM by Gary Rogowski | 14 comments »

One of the lessons that every woodworking teacher must learn is humility. Being more knowledgeable than a new student doesn’t mean that you’re smarter [that’s certain] or more skilled. It means simply that you’ve put in more time. You have made more mistakes and after repeating them enough times you do learn to avoid them. But then you forge on to make new ones. If you, as a teacher, forget that everyone starts from a place of ignorance then each question is irksome to you. Don’t forget. R...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #53: Why Not Dovetails?

05-26-2015 07:53 PM by Gary Rogowski | 2 comments »

Hand cut dovetails are a pain in the butt. So some would say. I say differently. They are a giant . . . delight. Consider the dovetails below, cut by John in last year’s Resident Mastery Program. This drawer is pretty small. Dovetails are overkill for its strength requirements. And yet they add so much beauty to the piece. And these half blind dovetails are actually easier to cut than through dovetails. Hmm. Also think about the value of this hand cut work. It’s not just to hold som...

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A Strategy for Woodworking #52: Taking Down a Tree, Part Two

05-21-2015 01:53 PM by Gary Rogowski | 5 comments »

The tree is down. No ceremony was performed for it. As a street tree, this maple had a pretty good long run. I was sorry to have to remove it but seeing it fallen over on top of a car would have made me a bit sorrier. It was half dead as was plain to see this spring and rot would soon take over the trunk. So. It was actually pretty cool to watch how the arborist, Aaron, took it down. He roped up and started dropping limbs, both dead and alive from the top on down. When he got close to the ...

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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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A Strategy for Woodworking #50: Do Good Work

05-05-2015 07:01 PM by Gary Rogowski | 5 comments »

How can anyone afford to do good work these days? Isn’t the strain of surviving enough to make mediocre work good enough? As that famous poet once said, You gonna have to serve somebody. So who’s it gonna be? Your landlord or the voice inside you asking you to do it right this time. I can’t choose for you. I can only choose for myself. These were the standards I said I had to adhere to and if I couldn’t meet those then it wasn’t worth doing. Yeah, some days those standards were higher than...

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