On this website I want to share the many good things I’ve discovered as a self-taught woodworker. Sifting through a mass of woodwork advise, whether it be book, website, blog or video, building it in the shop, and writing of my experience.
The end of 2015 brought with it the realization I'd rather be in front of my workbench, than my laptop. Woodworking had been a weekend hobby, and now it’s…well, not exactly sure what it is now. Profession? All consuming hobby? Money pit? I know it’s immensely fun, yet at times extremely frustrating. Satisfying when a piece is finally finished, polished and displayed; and disappointing when an earlier project glares at me with its sloppy joints. But what’s always true is the excitement felt starting a new project. Entering my workshop to pick up a tool and cut wood. Holding the next piece of wood, similar to others, yet exposing a grain and color all its own. A new book, article or video bringing to life a woodworker’s skill and enthusiasm. It’s challenging work, which makes it all so worthwhile. It grabs my attention with a determination to make that next piece of furniture better than the last.
My articles echo a bit of philosophy. With every resource used, I search for what I call Elegant Simplicity. Two words that have been used to describe anything from art to engineering, and which have a distinct meaning for me.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”
There’s little argument against elegance. But what about simplicity? Simple doesn’t always mean easy, and no one wants to be accused of being simple minded. Simplicity results from time spent rooting out unnecessary steps; cutting out the fluff and leaving all the good stuff. Of the many ways to define simplicity, I prefer this: The absence of pretense.
But simplicity can’t stand alone; if it did then every joint would be nailed. Elegance adds a sense of necessity – work that does everything needed from it. It's both form and function. The stressed joints of a heirloom chest relying on sturdy dovetails, yet screws for a garage toolbox. Elegance is not wearing belts and suspenders.
Paul Sellers in his excellent book Working Wood 1 & 2 demonstrates a method for making turnbuttons. A single piece of wood, two saw cuts, and a sharp rap of a hammer producing two turnbuttons. Elegant and simple.
Thanks for listening.