Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Get Sickworking Week

So I wrote a piece for Get Woodworking Week, in which I urged people to get over whatever fears they have or inadequacies they perceive and make something. I talked about being sick, which I was, and about how I was eager to get back in the shop.

Turned out I was fighting bronchitis. Not fun.

I missed most of a week of work, and then I spent the next several days making up for all the extra chores my wife had to do while I was laid up. Now, I'm buried under a pile of things to catch up on at work.

The long and short of it is that I will not be getting any shop time in the next week or two (at least), let alone very much time to blog about what I'm not building.

In the meantime, I will try to share some interesting woodworking things I've come across. I discovered as I was convalescing that the YouTube woodworking community has exploded with new content -- I think I'm now subscribed to more than two dozen woodworking channels! Everything from pros to hobbyists; every skill level from master to beginner. Until I am able to get back in the shop, I think I'm going to highlight these fine folks, hopefully encouraging them to keep on putting up new content.

In the meantime, folks, please think of me the next time you make some sawdust.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's "Get Woodworking Week"...and I'm sick.

And I have a job. And a baby. And my drill is broken. And I have chores. And I don't know anyone who might be interested in visiting my shop (the customary activity during GWW) that I wouldn't be embarrassed to show my skill level. And I might screw up that batch of nice (insert fancily-named lumber here) if I don't take my time.

And so on.

Since I've started blogging about woodworking, it seemed a good idea to go ahead and write something up about Get Woodworking Week. At first, I thought it'd be cool to share a project I've completed -- or, at least, am working on. But my shop time is so limited that I didn't think there'd be much to share. Then, I thought, maybe I should write about stuff I'm planning to work on.


Finally, I realized that I'm Doing It Again. I'm coming up with excuses not to start; reasons that my contribution won't matter, or -- shudder -- will make things worse. It dawned on me that part of the reason my projects drag on longer than I'd prefer is that I always have to overcome my fear of screwing it up. Once I've made myself start, this fear continues to create inertia whenever I encounter a complex setup or an operation that requires great precision. It's a constant battle for me -- especially when coupled with my short attention span.

I've learned, however, that it's not just me. Other people struggle to get started, too -- and not just in woodworking. It affects jobs and relationships, too (how long did you put off asking that special someone out on a date?).

So, since I have a legit excuse for not woodworking today (cough, cough), I will write about Getting Woodworking. And here's what I have to say about it:


That, to me, is the essence of GWW. While it's wonderful and admirable to bring your friend or child into the shop in the hopes of inspiring someone to learn the craft, we have to engage in the craft ourselves. Surely we didn't dive into what can be an expensive hobby merely to amass tools we'll never use, right?

So what is stopping you? Apart from actual excuses, such as pressing obligations and day-to-day responsibilities, maybe there's some old hang-up that keeps you from putting blade to wood. I wouldn't be surprised to find that many people suffer from the same fear that I confessed, but whatever is holding you back doesn't matter. Resolve to go out into your shop (or garage, or patio, or toolshed, or driveway)this week and MAKE SOMETHING.

If you got into woodworking, chances are it's because you have a creative streak. Stop apologizing for it or diminishing it. The reason most adults draw like children is that they stopped learning how to do it as children, a time when, in our own minds, all of our work is The Most Amazing Thing Ever. It stands to reason, then, that if you learn a new craft as an adult, the learning curve can be frustrating.If you're new to woodworking, don't be ashamed of the first few doorstops -- er, projects -- that you make; they're all learning experiences. You may be too old anymore to appreciate having Mommy hang your first stupid project on the wall, but that's not why you made it in the first place.You had something to say; a desire to add something to the world that bears a piece of you (metaphorically, I hope). The fact that you stepped out and created something new -- even if it's a total rip-off of someone else's design, it didn't exist until you made it -- has brought something wonderful into the world.

So, just do it. Go make a bandsaw box. Don't have a bandsaw? Make a stepstool. No router? Make a simple shelf. No drill? Make a storage box. No wood? Go find a pallet and rip it apart.

I can't begin to describe how envious I am of those who, like me, have a little free time right now, but are also well enough to make some sawdust. Unfortunately, table saws and groggy heads are, shall we say, a recipe for a messy shop. I also am a little worried that my medicine-head has made this post seem a bit more eloquent and less preachy than it really is; if not, forgive me.

But Get Woodworking.