Woodworkers’ New Year’s Resolutions

Woodworkers’ New Year’s Resolutions

In last week’s Woodworker’s Journal Weekly, we asked about your woodworking New Year’s resolutions. As we suspected, among woodworkers, “learn a new skill” ranks much higher than the fifth place overall it gets when lumped in with the general resolution-making populace. – Editor

“You can bet ‘learning new woodworking skills’ is at the top of my wish list! When I say new woodworking skills, I mean learning how to make a woodworking project. All the way from actually picking out the wood, to cutting and gluing the project, to applying the actual finish.” – Ray Battenfield

“I am constantly confronted with the need to develop new skills. My ideas for woodworking come from magazines on woodworking, Pinterest, and other sources of pictures of other projects of people have done. When I see something I want to do, my first effort is to go and find information on the web or in my magazines as to how other people have overcome these problems. Sometimes I just like to fool around and figure out something on my own to see if I can improve on techniques that others use. It’s a lot of fun. I’m hoping after I retire that I’ll be able to actually take courses on skills that I have recognized that I need to become better at. The count time timer is running.” – Lee Ohmart

Some have tied their woodworking skills resolutions to specific projects. – Editor

“I’m not so I sure I want to learn new skills as much as apply some of the skills I have learned in the last few years to new projects. I learned how to do bent wood laminates while restoring an old Pearson Commander sailboat, and this year I want to apply those skills to making a rocking chair for my pregnant daughter. I have long admired the bentwood rockers I have seen and I want to make one for her that she can some day pass on to her children. I would like to get more time in using the hand planes I have purchased over the last year and getting a much better feel for when they are the better choice for a specific task than another option. Another project I would like to build this year is a new toolbox for my 10-year-old grandson who loves spending time in my shop with me. We have already built several projects together and I want to reward him with his own toolbox.” – Jerry Carpenter

I don’t know whether you’d count mine as ‘woodworking,’ but I need to try my hand at making a template to make fish scale shingles using a router. As I’m going to need over 15 squares of these shingles, and I can make nine shingles for about the same price as one pre-made shingle, it seems to be a no-brainer. Or so I thought. First, I’ve never used a template with my routers. Second, my small router wouldn’t accept the guides. Third, I’ve ordered carbide burr bits that I hope will last through the build. OK, so that’s not so hard. Now I need to cut the template, order enough material, set up a vacuum system to catch the dust (did I mention that the shingles are fiber cement?) and set up a paint station so that the fruits of my labor can have the first coat of paint before installation (oh, and the gables that are to receive them are over 15 feet off the ground). Wish me luck.” – J. Eric Pennestri

While others have focused their resolutions on the skills first –specific projects to follow. – Editor

“I have been trying new skills every year, and each year I start a new list of woodworking resolutions. This year I will complete furniture projects that add these skills to my abilities:

1) Bent Lamination – probably a serpentine front cabinet from 1/8-inch plywood laminate with veneer

2) Incorporating metals into my woodworking in an artistic way – brass, aluminum, copper probably into an inlay on tabletop

3) Boulle style marquetry” – Noreen Debrot


“My plan is to learn a new skill, and that is bowl carving. I have a small adze and hatchet but would love to see advice on several aspects of bowl carving.” – Alan Root

“Woodturning. Pens first and then?” – Peter Dunphy

“Learn segmented bowl turning, from designing and accurately cutting and gluing segments to turning and finishing.” – Bruce Vincent

“Learn to program a CNC machine.” – Janet Persons

“I’d like to become more proficient with my turnings and will be doing more bowls and candlesticks.” – Roy R. Pietras

“The possibility of carving to complement my knowledge of woodturning.” – Frank Kaimer

“I’m going to buy a lathe and learn to turn. But first on the list: a real woodworking bench build.” – Thom Spillane

“I would like to be able to apply finishes in a more timely manner without losing the integrity of the project. In other words, faster applications with less dry time.” – Ronnie Iles

Some focused their skill building plans specifically on joinery. – Editor

“I’d like to learn how to make dovetails.” – Dave Walsh

“I want to become proficient at dovetails by hand. I have done them by hand, but they just don’t look tight and flush like they do in the magazine or in a video. I know it takes practice, but I need something more than just practice. I need hints or methods to improve my saw cut angles so the pins and tails match. I don’t want some magic magnet that holds my saw or anything of the sort. I need the skill.” – Bill Self

“More mortise-and-tenons on more furniture I make. Even picture frames. Loose tenons and the Domino pale in comparison to the strength and longevity of a true mortise-and-tenon. Those imposters are not simply as strong.  Perhaps they are strong enough, but I have not seen any article or test results providing necessary design data. The manufacturers make claims they do not have data to support. I have seen test results that show a true mortise-and-tenon to be the strongest joint against the imposters. I remember when the cheapest $550 biscuit machines came out 25 years ago to change the woodworking world.  Now where are they?” – Dave Byerly

Or on project design. – Editor

“My New Year’s resolution is never to let anybody else design aproject for me. I will work from my own design and try to get exactly what I want. My experience is that, when you go by another’s design, you invariably think of some feature that could have been added or changed—afterward. At a very minimum you want to go over somebody else’s plan and modify it before you start building.” – Moh Clark

And some had more general woodworking resolutions, focused on timeliness – and cleanliness. – Editor

“More time at the lathe, and maybe even join a turning club!  This Christmas came too quickly, and I resorted to finishing projects in my non-heated garage in mid-December. This year, I’m planning to dedicate more time earlier in the year, and also planning to install a heater, just in case Christmas sneaks up on me again.” – Justin Olsen

“The new skill I want to learn is how to keep my shop clean and in order.” – Norm Devonshire

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