Once again I've been away from this blog and the workshop for too long. With a new baby in the house, shop time has been very scarce. I was able to get into the shop a few weeks ago and it was such a big deal that I took a picture of my newest project. Behold, a stick that I made. Out of walnut, of course.
|Only took me an hour to make that stick. Felt good!|
I could get all philosophical about the value of work and the connection between physical labor and societal value in the modern world, but I am never able to find the words and others do it much better than me. If you are interested in this sort of thing, try reading Matthew Crawford’s book Shop Class as Soulcraft or Christopher Schwarz’s recent instant classic The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.
Back to woodworking, you might be thinking to yourself “I don’t know how.” Hey, me either. Nobody taught me this stuff when I was a kid, and quite frankly I’m still not a very experienced woodworker. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still a beginner. I’ve cut dovetails exactly once, and I had someone talking me through it the whole time. But woodworking isn’t some mysterious black art that can only be learned in secret back rooms under hardware stores. All you need is some curiosity and the willingness to make a few mistakes along the way.
You won't be alone, trust me. Somehow you found this blog post, so you’ve already discovered that there is a very active online woodworking community. I’ve had the good fortune to meet many woodworkers online and in person over the past few years. It may sound corny, but I know that every single one of them would be willing to answer a question from a new woodworker. Many would even show up in person and help out if they were close enough. If you don’t have a woodworking mentor in your offline life, try visiting a forum or comment on a few blogs and test the waters. My “home” forum is www.woodtalkonline.com and I’ve found it to be very welcoming to newcomers, and all ranges of experience. Another new resource is the Modern Woodworkers Association which has local chapters springing up across the country. The Atlanta chapter meets once a month, so come and say howdy.
You don't need a bunch of fancy tools to get started either. A pretty simple kit will get you a long way down the road to woodworking. In fact, I'd recommend that you should wait to buy tools only as you need them. Many of the "must have" tools that I bought early on are now collecting dust in the shop...Um, but not in the way that a dust collector would collect dust, you know? Because it's a dust collector? Anyway, I now buy tools only as I need them. Except for that chisel Chris Adkins talked me into in November.
So if you've ever thought about giving woodworking a try, this is the week for you. Get Woodworking!