• Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Heartwood woodworking blog

Several round-number milestones for this blog have converged, so it is time once again to take stock. Heartwood will be 10 years old in a few weeks. I have authored 200,000 words of content (not including comments), the length of 3-4 typical non-fiction books, accompanied by more than 1000 original photographs. The stats counter tells me there have been nearly 4 million visits and 12 million page views since the blog’s inception. (That’s actual human traffic, not robots, spiders, crawlers, etc.)

As I have said all along, Heartwood is about real-deal woodworking “from the sawdust and shavings of my shop.” The primary reason I write is, quite simply, that I want to share with you the joy of woodworking – the “quiet joy,” in Krenov’s words. I want to help empower you to build things.

The great majority of the posts deal with technical matters of tools, techniques, wood, jigs, and shop fixtures, but there are also explorations into the bigger picture of why we work wood, and the meaning the craft holds for us. I do not waste readers’ time with stuff for which they did not likely visit, such as contentious politics or accounts of a leak in my car’s radiator. I have tried to keep the writing engaging, fluid, and respectful of my readers, for whom I am most grateful.

I admit to being frustrated with the dearth of comments. Please, say hello once in a while if you are even slightly inclined. The interaction generated by your comments and ideas is fun for all of us. I also enjoy the many woodworking questions that I receive from around the world. I want to help you work wood.

The golden age of interest-focused blogging has long past, largely due, I think, to the dominance of social media, photo posting sites, and the explosion in video content engendered by broadband Internet. There is plenty of useful content out there, particularly videos, but much of it is idle junk. In any case, I think there is still unique value in writing.

So, will all of that, where do I go from here with this blog? Well, for now I am continuing. I have lots more to say, but this takes considerable time and effort, and I certainly want to maintain quality. I’ve even thought of adding short videos, but who knows.

I’ll take it one month at a time.

Most all, thanks for reading!


Category: Ideas
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35 Responses

  1. 1

    Hi ! As a long time silent reader, I feel this is the perfect occasion to thank you for your time spent creating this blog. I totally agree with you concerning reading ; compared to video, reading is active, can be done offline, stopped and resumed as needed (perfect while commuting), skipping and slowing down to understand is easy, etc.

  2. 2

    thanks for posting, Rob!

  3. 3
    Jay Highland 

    I always learn something new or find new ways of looking at things in the shop based on your posts. Please keep up with the great work, I appreciate your commitment and interest in promoting exceptional woodworking skills and equipment.

  4. 4
    Jim Dillon 

    Please continue! Your blog is of value to me, and I have purchased some of the items you’re enthusiastic about with excellent results.

  5. 5
    James Scheltens 

    Your blog is one that I find very useful to read. There are several posts that I have bookmarked over the years so that I could re-read them. Some of your recommendations on tools have guided my purchases. As a rule, I don’t comment on blogs, but I am grateful for all the valuable content you have posted.

  6. 6

    Congrats on the major blog milestone! 10 years is no small feat. I’m a reader of yours who appreciates long form blog posts over bite-sized social media hiccups. That’s why I subscribe to your RSS feed. But I’m also an introvert who tends to avoid comment sections even though I know what it feels like to write a lot of blog posts and get so few comments. Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write it all down. I’ve learned a lot by absorbing wisdom and techniques from bloggers like you. Cheers!

  7. 7
    Jared Tohlen 

    Rob, congrats on all of the milestones! I’ve only been visiting for a tiny amount of those 10 years, but I’ve enjoyed it. Apologies for not interacting more! I’ll resolve to do so going forward.

    Maybe some good posts that would be quick and easy for you would be to dig up content from early on in the 10 years that you feel are relevant or deserve a second look.

  8. 8
    Christopher Valois 


    Congratulations on your current and upcoming milestones ! I greatly appreciate the time and dedication that you put into creating each of your blog posts.

    On occasions when a person chats with me about getting started, or progressing, in woodworking I always strongly, but politely, let them know what a fun, insightful, and ultimately valuable resource your blog is.

    And of course, I also enjoy bumping into around town every once in a great while in our general area of Massachusetts.

    Please, please keep up your wonderful work !


    Christopher Valois

  9. 9
    John Jenkins 

    I must admit, I’m a regular reader, but infrequent commentator.

    I do value your content and am appreciative of the time and effort you pour into this endeavor.

    Please keep up the work and I’ll pledge to be more responsive!


  10. 10

    Thank you and congrats for 10 years. I started woodworking about 3 years ago. I started a blog thinking it would be fun to document my growth from zero experience. I think I lasted all of a dozen posts. It was harder to do the blogging than I thought it would be. I did do the woodworking though so not all is lost.

  11. 11

    I have followed you for almost the whole 10 years. Never comment, just enjoy. Please keep up the good work

  12. 12

    Hi Rob,

    I check your blog several times a week hoping for new posts. Two words about your blog articles: Practical and Thought-provoking. I agree with Jared that a re-run of older posts for those of us who have found your blog more recently would enjoy. Thanks for helping us all become better at our craft through your sharing.

    God Bless,

  13. 13

    Your posts are always well-written and worth reading. This blog is one of a few that I come back to often as a reference. Glad to know you’re going to keep writing.

  14. 14

    I have been reading your blog for a couple years. When I first encountered it I spent my time reading the whole thing from being to end.
    I wanted to learn about techniques, tools and workshop subjects. Later it taught me about focus and attitude in work.
    Thanks for putting your time into sharing your thoughts, experiences, ideas and writing with us.

  15. 15

    Your posts are always well-written and interesting, as are your magazine articles. This is one of a few blogs I come back to as a reference source. Thank you, and I’m glad you’re going to continue.

  16. 16
    Andrew Margeson 

    Your blog is one of the few that I always read and have learned a great deal from. Generally, your posts are so clear and well-reasoned that I don’t really have a comment other than, “Great Job!”

    I agree with you that there is unique value in writing and I do regret the decline in solid, informative blogs like yours. There is so much interest in “monetizing” that many blogs have become more commercial than informative.

  17. 17
    Tico Vogt 

    Hi Rob,

    I always read and enjoy your posts. Yes, Instagram has done in much of the blog writing (mine being no exception). Yours is more of a specialty niche now, and that’s okay. As long as it provides personal satisfaction, keep writing!

  18. 18

    Thank you for all the great posts Rob and always taking the time to answer public and private questions. Your small shop layout and approach has influenced my woodworking journey so thank you again.

  19. 19

    Hi Rob, i admit to being a reader but very rarely comment. not because I am lazy just that i often don’t have anything to add to the conversation that would be worthwhile. I read blogs all the time and am like a sponge; I soak up all that great information. So please keep on doing what you do. I for one moest certainly appreciate it. Mike from NZ.

  20. Hi Rob-

    Have always enjoyed your thoughts and techniques. Please keep up the good work. Thanks for all your insights and writings.

    — Steve.

  21. 21

    Been reading your blog for a long time, never inclined to comment until now in response to this post.
    Like others i quietly appreciate the content, will try in future to make comments, hadnt realised that not doing so may be somewhat demoralising
    clive from NZ

  22. 22

    I’m another lazy bastard who has been thoroughly enjoying your blog for years but never said thanks. Well, THANKS ROB. You’ve got the best woodworking blog on the Internet. I sincerely hope you’ll continue treating us for another decade.

  23. 23
    Vincent Tai 

    We take these blogs for granted. I will try to leave comments in the future Rob; your blog has been an insightful look and guide to the craft. The unique value of writing is something I greatly appreciate. Congratulations on this milestone! I look forward to many more.

  24. 24

    I have recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed looking back at all the posts. There is much to learn (I am a serious beginner, now building my first project: split top Roubo bench.) from your site, with a lot of valuable second-order knowledge that is usually fascinating.

    All the love and care is so obvious by the way you write, and the topics you choose to write about. I hope you keep doing this Rob, I for one thank you. CS

  25. 25

    Hi Rob, my woodworking has benefited immensely from … studying your words, references and photos. Your efforts are appreciated!

  26. 26

    Hi Rob, I’m just setting up my shop — something I’ve wished for ever since I was in my teens — as I finally have the means. Today I’m googling for ideas, I’ve come across your blog, and am REALLY looking forward to getting into this as you’ve done. I’m looking forward to digging through your deep archives and already appreciate your work to communicate your experiences to the world. They’re so valuable. — John (Carmel Valley, CA)

  27. 27

    Sounds great, John!

    Don’t forget this:

    And I’m guessing you’ll relate to this:


  28. 28


    I am another of those who silently appreciate your writing. I have a long list of woodworking sites bookmarked over the years, but there are few that I regularly return to that offer practical advice (like the tapes post), precise, clear writing, thought provoking musings and that elusive thing called wisdom. Your work is most definitely appreciated and I would be very sorry if you decided to stop writing. Should that ever happen I and many others would no doubt be grateful if access to your archives could be maintained.

    All good wishes

    Roger (Johannesburg, South Africa)

  29. 29


    After stumbling upon your website many years ago, I’ve gone back and read every post you have written. I have plagiarized several of your ideas on your sharpening station and your tool cabinet, thank you. Many of your tool reviews have prompted me to update items. All of the tips from you have made me a better woodworker.

    A hearty thank you. Please keep up the good work.


  30. 30
    Tom Maki 


    I have been reading your blog for a few years now, and I consider your website to be one of the very best places to go online for valuable woodworking advice, insight, and inspiration. I wish I had not waited this long to drop a comment. Thank you so much for sharing your passion and your expertise with us! Your words consistently have a way of fueling my pursuit of higher quality and satisfaction with my woodworking efforts, as well as reminding me what fun it is to be able to spend time building stuff in the shop.


  31. 31

    Thank you all for your very kind comments! They are so encouraging. It is good to hear from people (behind the stats) for whom this blog has had an impact on their enjoyment and skill in woodworking.

    Jared and Tim, I will keep that in mind, about revisiting some earlier posts. I did that a little bit in the past under the title “Second thoughts.”

    Charlie, you nailed it, “second order knowledge,” that’s what I’m trying to transmit with this blog.

    Again, thank you, thank you, all.

  32. 32

    Hi Rob,
    from time to time I come to this blog, because I know that it is written with deep experience and of great knowledge. I benefit from it without the possibility of giving something back. But at least, because you stated it, I can give back the note of enjoyment and important information.
    I visited now searching for your way of organising the tool cabinet, which I did several times. In most of the texts is something that is of great value for me.
    I congratulate to the 10 years and hope for a long time in the future (which, to be honest, is mostly selfish …).
    Best regards,

  33. 33

    Danke, Bernd.

  34. 34
    Pascal Teste 

    Hi Rob,

    I made a living being a carpenter for 20 years, and recently I have decided to hang the tool belt and turn my energy to making furniture for a living. I know it will not generate as much revenue, but it is what I truly want to do.

    A couple of year ago my wife and I purchase a house and of course I have been renovating it… It has been a good opportunity for me to transition to woodworking/furniture making by building my own interior doors, designing and building all cabinetry and furniture for our own use.

    I have been gathering knowledge from all the sources I can get my hands on, and just discovered your Blog recently which I find excellent! I am very grateful that you share you knowledge and experience with others, and I hope that you will continue doing so.

    Thank you!

  35. 35

    You’re welcome, Pascal. I’m glad the information is helpful. Good luck to you.