|Forum topic by hasbeen99||posted 1546 days ago||826 views||0 times favorited||9 replies|
1546 days ago
Last spring, my mother-in-law (who has always been wonderful to me—seriously!) asked if I could make around 20 tabletop Christmas trees for her winter boutique craft show in December. I agreed, not knowing what a pain it would be, nor how much time it would actually take. Because of unforeseen events, I didn’t get started on it until late November. I did manage to get them finished in time for her show, but in the process I learned 3 important lessons that I think many amateur woodworkers like myself could benefit from:
1. Construction grade lumber is contruction grade for a reason. I picked up a jointer and a planer this year, so I thought, “Hey, now I can buy cheap lumber and mill it up nice so I can save a ton of money!” Well, I bought cheap lumber, and it milled up nice, but learned the hard way that douglas fir does not like to be flush trimmed—not one little bit. I had chunks breaking off right and left. Not only that, but I now have pitch all over half my power tools, and I went thought a set of blades each on my planer and jointer milling everything down. I could’ve bought poplar or white pine and the overall cost would’ve been close to a wash. The time and frustration saved would’ve been huge.
2. I do not want to do this for a living. As much as I love my recently-found hobby of making sawdust, the introduction of deadlines, budgets, and projects I’m not really interested in has tought me that I only enjoy woodworking as long as I’m doing what I want to do, in my own time. That’s an important lesson. Even my wife noticed the difference, and has forbidden me from taking any side projects for a while so I don’t risk losing my passion.
3. I am not set up well for mass production. After doing only single-piece projects during my relatively short woodworking experience, this was my first project that required a large number of repeated pieces. Some of my tools fared well (table saw with a stop block on the sled, etc.), but others didn’t. Cutting out Christmas tree patterns individually on 40 pieces of wood with a jigsaw was a MAJOR pain (not only in the rear end, but literally in the hand and back).
Overall, I’m glad for the experience, and I’m grateful for these lessons learned. It’ll help me narrow down the kinds of projects I want to do in the future, and keep my enjoyment at a nice, high level. I guess at the end of the day, what’s true of so many other areas of life is true in woodworking:
-- "The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself in love." --Galatians 5:6