Get Woodworking Week! Don’t Let Shop “Shortcomings” Stop You

Yep, it’s Get Woodworking Week! Masterminded by Tom Iovino over at Tom’s Workbench, the idea is for folks interested but new to woodworking to get into the shop. While I’m pretty new to woodworking myself, and completed my first “true” furniture project this past year, I’ve been interested in woodworking for much longer. Prior to building that project, I found I was guilty of worrying too much if I had the right tools to do the job. I knew it too when I began thinking to myself that I was getting tired of trying to get the shop “right” before attempting something more than a DIY carpentry project, and I was just itching to actually build something that could be considered real woodworking.

It was right around this time I went to WoodExpo in Boston, and got to meet and talk to folks with real woodworking experience: Tommy MacDonald, Eli Cleveland, Mike Morton, Rob Bois, Neil Lamens, and others. When asked about what woodworking I do, the reply went along the lines of, “Well, not much yet. Still building up my shop”. Invariably, each replied in various ways not to worry so much about shop building, but get some wood and build something… anything! It was like the Nike commercials – Just Do It. They confirmed what I was thinking, and I’m thankful they did so.

So, if you find yourself wondering if you have the “just right” shop setup and “enough/right” tools to do woodworking, stop. Buy some wood and just do it.

Note To Self: Watch That Grain Direction!

In starting to work on the Craftsman inspired end table, I am, for the first time, working with rough stock. I must say, it is very cool seeing what appears when you begin to joint and plane the rough lumber – how the grain really starts to show itself.

And I learned a lesson in the process – pay attention to grain direction!

I actually did – for the most part… but as you can see from the picture above, this was the one time I forgot, and fed this piece through my planer the wrong way, resulting in a “little bit of tearout”… d’oh! There was that “missing piece” that you see that was starting to lift away a bit, and by the time I noticed it going through the planer, it was too late. A though of “uh oh”, then a “ka-chunk!” sound, and this is how it came out the other side.

Luckily, I left the piece overly long and hadn’t planed it down to final thickness yet, so this wasn’t a fatal mistake. Phew!

Did You Know…

That MDF will get moldy if it gets wet? I do now! After spraining my ankle and breaking my foot, I wasn’t able to get down into the shop for a while, during which we had a lot of rain, and the basement got a little wet. I never got the chance to pick up the MDF scraps from my shelving unit… I’ll say though it’s a nice shade of green.