• Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Some readers of this blog may be relatively new to woodworking, are thinking of getting started in the craft, or perhaps are seasoned craftsmen temporarily stalled in their work. In particular, I have in mind those people who have a nagging urge to create something but have not gotten the ball rolling quite yet. One or another thing gets in the way (I understand!), yet there is a real sense that pursuing this wonderful art would bring enjoyment and fulfillment. You hear the promise of meaningfulness.

Some of the most common impediments thwarting otherwise eager woodworkers are the complexity of what seems an arcane science, aiming for perfection, and the feeling that the work is not important, especially if grandeur is lacking. Yet all these are surmountable. 

Recently, I had the pleasure to talk and share ideas with many woodworkers, some trying to establish traction in their woodworking. About the same time, a relative had one of those unforseen medical experiences that remind us all that life is fragile and there are no guarantees. From this springs my simple suggestion: get the wood, get the tools, and build it. Just build it! Build it so it has meaning for you. Drop me a comment or email if I can take a minute to help clear the way for you.

It’s only the wood that grows on trees. Happy woodworking.

Category: Ideas
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5 Responses

  1. 1
    imre sziebert 

    I agree that it is good to build, I however need an audience. This is an oft neglected aspect of work. If there is no-one to use/admire the work, then why bother.

  2. 2

    “Build it so it has meaning for you.” A wise exhortation indeed.

    For a long time, I liked making stuff, but lacked knowledge of the best ways, so just groped along. Even that imperfect (and frankly laughable in many ways) stuff is still meaningful to me and I enjoy it. For example, when my daughter was due to be born any day, a friend gave us a Moses backet to use. We decided we were going to let her sleep in it in our bedroom when we first brought her home from the hospital, but lacked anything to get the basket off the floor. Well, I went down to my basement “workshop” and in the course of one afternoon used 1x pine I had on hand along with a Nobex miterbox and some screws and came up with what amounted to wide stance table with a lip to support the basket. The lip kept it in place, and the wide stance made sure it couldn’t be tipped over even by a half asleep parent. The thing violates various “rules” of woodworking, but is surprisingly charming in it’s way, and definitely continues to have meaning for me. It was fun and satisfying to meet that need, and, in a way, capture that memory. We still use it a a plant stand in our sunroom.

    I have other examples – like when my daughter needed a step stool to get into her big girl bed and ethan allen wanted $200 for a pocket screwed piece of ____, but I’ve bored you enough. Perhaps just a picture on that one:

    A stool you could park a tank on!

    Anyway, Rob, you are completely right. Create!!

  3. 3

    Thanks for the comments.

    Imre, I too like an audience but first I’ve got to feel good about the work.

    Sean, thanks for the family-woodworking stories, something I definitely relate to. I have a special affection for functional projects, even the simple ones, that I made for the family. Imre, I guess the audience does matter!


  4. 4

    Excellent advice, Rob, and just what I needed right now – thanks.

  5. 5


    Good luck and stay with it.