I was browsing in a Woodcraft store a while ago and saw some blank knife blades to which only a wooden handle needed to be attached to produce a nice knife. I am not a knife maker but I certainly like tools, including knives, and figured this would be an easy diversion for me, an experienced woodworker, while more profound projects ruminated in my head. Ha! Yeah, right.
I bought two. I was thinking vaguely, without fully admitting to myself, that one was to screw up and learn on, while the second had a shot at turning out OK. Really, it was not a difficult project, but even such a seemingly straightforward job as this harbored glitches that, lacking specific experience, I was unlikely to anticipate.
How was I to know that the quick-set epoxy would make an ugly thick glue line, or that blending the handle near the heel of the blade would be tricky? Even though I’ve handled knives for many years, decisions for the figure, weight, thickness, and contours of the handle were confusing. I also was not accustomed to seeing sparks fly off the drum sander along with the usual wood dust.
So, while not wholly unfamiliar, this was new territory for me. The experience reminded me how damn difficult it is to make things, especially to make them come out the way you really want them to come out. It’s not quick, easy, or perfect every time.
To students of woodworking, and that means all of us, I suggest we ignore the popular trend of hawking this or that technique as easy-peasy, quick as a flash, or (ugh) “perfect every time.” Woodworking is none of those. Sure, you and I can and will learn new skills and do excellent work, but it’s really not easy.
So, ignore the hype and keep making sawdust. Happy woodworking!