Advice from the Seasoned
Issue: Issue 3.10
Posted Date: 5/21/2002
A novice asked the seasoned woodworkers out there to share any words of wisdom they might have picked up over the years. Here's a sampler of the response:
Starting off with a caveat emptor about taking advice off the Internet, a woodworker counseled patience, buying the best tools you can afford, reading, and joining a local woodworking club. Others' suggestions followed similar lines: Take some classes from qualified instructors. Videos could also be helpful. Start with simple projects, figure it out as you go along, and do the best you can. Build the project in your head before you start. Don't take on projects that are too difficult and frustrating. Likewise, cheap tools frustrate and hinder learning. Don't get discouraged if you make a few "firewood" projects. Skill and expertise come as you learn from doing. It's important to just start making sawdust! Check out the links on the forums. Don't be shy, ask questions.
Forum host, Ellis Walentine, invoked a disclaimer/warning that used to appear in a magazine that emphasized safety, vigilance, and common sense. He also reiterated, that no matter how well-intentioned, advice from the forums came without guarantees. On a more positive note, he also suggested joining clubs and taking classes ... before investing in equipment. Being curious about materials, tools, adhesives, and machines will prepare you for good decisions ... but be prepared, he cautioned, to learn from mistakes. And it all pays off, he suggested, when that first project is completed.
Building on the importance of sty and staying alert, another forum member described the benefits of looking his old Unisaw right in the blade upon entering the shop and reciting: "Not today, you S.O.B!" Another woodworker, basing it on her own learning curve, suggested making something you really want, something that will keep you interested.