A Strategy for Woodworking #43: Tools Have Magic

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Blog entry by Gary Rogowski posted 02-10-2015 03:39 AM 1857 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 42: Absolutely Part 43 of A Strategy for Woodworking series Part 44: Hand Tools »

I think I can safely say that the hook for most woodworkers was tools. Most of us found a tool, or remembered our dad’s tools, or saw some tools at somebody’s shop and then they thought to themselves, I wonder what these things do? I wonder what I could do with these tools?

I found an old hand plane outside the college house I was living in, way back when. I didn’t know what it did, but I knew it did something, and I wanted to know more. Still have it. It’s a wooden bodied transitional plane that has never ever worked because it’s still a bit rusty and the body is cracked but it’s okay. It does not matter to me because it was never a tool that I needed to see work. It was a symbol then, and still is today, of what I might be able to do, what I might be able to learn, what I might be able to accomplish. I keep it right by my bench. It is a reminder of where I came from. From that deep pit of tool ignorance that I dwelt in for the first 25 years of my life.

But once I got bit by that curiosity, once I started to go to the Sears store, which was the only place in town where I could find woodworking tools, and stare at that wall of tools that they used to have there, I knew that I wanted to know more. I wanted to figure out what I could make those tools do for me. It is a gift these tools are. They have magic in their grip. It is our job to figure out how to make that magic work for us.

Mastery Program

-- Gary Rogowski...follow my podcast at and twitter @garyrogowski

3 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8881 posts in 3444 days

#1 posted 02-10-2015 04:44 AM


The plane is a classic. Just like you!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18781 posts in 4277 days

#2 posted 02-10-2015 07:14 AM

Gary, I remember that day. I was probably 4 or 5 years old. My grandpa told my dad to hand him his plane. I have no idea what they were working on, but it was something on the farm. Definitely not fine wood working or furniture. Grandpa took the plane and with a few strokes the curls wisping out; everything fit like magic ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3750 posts in 3710 days

#3 posted 02-11-2015 02:44 AM

I can only hope that someday the thin shavings I made when I was planing door jambs so that the doors would close on my previous house, which my boys picked up, will remind them of wood working. I built the doors tight, because my wife is a door slammer, and if they are tight enough, they won’t slam, they’ll just “whoosh” shut. Anyway, the boys had great fun with those shavings. They could have been put on xmas presents for bows, had I lacquered them.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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