in 1985, i announced to friends and family that i was dropping out of college to build a house. the technique i was most excited to learn in my first class was dovetails. 3. find woodworking friends and mentors other than taking a class, one of the best decisions i made was to join the guild of new hampshire woodworkers. 4. stick with your old machines for a while one of the greatest challenges facing a new woodworker is deciding what tools and machines to get. during my first woodworking class, i tried marking the shoulders of a tenon with my old carpenter’s combination square and found the lines didn’t meet. finally, i analyzed my technique and realized that my wrist twisted to the right at the end of each push stroke.
by the time you make another piece with a drawer, you might have forgotten what you wanted to do differently. my first was to learn to make shaker boxes, which lead to me making several for the cremanes of close friends. now out to the shop and put a finish on a small oak side table i completed earlier this week. i’ll take this opportunity to pass on a bit of advice that was given me by an old foundry pattern maker many years ago: he told me that the measure of a craftsman isn’t how good one is with the finest tools and machines, but what one can do with the tools one has at hand. i will look at a piece, examine it, and know in my head how to duplicate it with my own design changes if desired. our biweekly podcast allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.
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