A Strategy for Woodworking #54: Being in the Shop

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Gary Rogowski posted 06-08-2015 01:21 PM 1660 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 53: Why Not Dovetails? Part 54 of A Strategy for Woodworking series Part 55: As If »

I cannot tell what woodworking does for most people. For some it is a simple hobby. It is a pastime where you get to work with some tools and build something nice or useful. For others it’s a job, how you make your money and provide for your family.

Still for other woodworkers I think it is an important escape from the world. The shop becomes a spot where you can finally be in control for a change. You alone are responsible for the failures and successes at the bench. You get the credit for both. You also get to finish a job. It’s not taken from you or given to someone else to wrap up. It’s yours from start to end.

Many makers love the variety of tasks and problems that have to be addressed and solved. Lots of hats to wear as the builder of a piece from design to lumber selection and milling, joinery and assembly, and then don’t screw up that finish. A cornucopia of tasks.

For me it is what centers me and holds me steady. It is my work, my hobby, my career, my drug of choice. When building something I really like, a design that makes me happy, time goes away. I go away. And then I get to build things. I get to work with tools and wood at my bench, in my little world that I have created, and as an added bonus, I get to build things. Lucky me, being in the shop.

The Northwest Woodworking Studio

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

7 comments so far

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 2254 days

#1 posted 06-08-2015 01:48 PM

Wow, Gary..
This sums everything up perfectly !! I can visualize the text of this blog entry printed on a poster, framed, and hanging on the wall of any wood shop as an inspiration.

Great read!

-- Ed

View a1Jim's profile


118136 posts in 4435 days

#2 posted 06-08-2015 03:18 PM

I always enjoy your blogs you are always spot on and very well written.


View DocSavage45's profile


9018 posts in 3701 days

#3 posted 06-08-2015 05:32 PM


I was going to comment that a1Jim had posted a forum topic on being a professional woodworker. LOL! And here Jim is in the thread.

Your piece, to me, is about the experience of being with the wood. You left out Murphy as Jim says is my teacher. LOL!

Being a social being, I have a social profession. I am also a creative being and I chose wood vs. Painting because my father did the maintenance, and I did gopher work and construction. Oh yeah lets not forget “New Yankee workshop” with Norm Abrams. I did love oil painting as a kid. I also love nature and her gifts. I use to have some friends locally who helped me rebuild my animal barn carcass into my shop. Now I am on my own(except for Murphy) in my shop.

Now my social needs are met by interacting with Lj’s and The MN Woodworkers Guild. Learning is the act of screwing up and I want to say I learn well. Murphy helps in every way he can. LOL!

I am taking the gifts that I can get, and as you did with the tree, opening the logs. I can manage to see the beauty inside the log, and since I am a hybrid woodworker I am building my jigs to help in accuracy and repetitive cutting. My friend thinks it’s avoidance. Maybe he is right, but I am getting closer in my way to being with the wood.

Thanks for doing what you do in being an enlightened and gentle spirit to show us the way!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4162 days

#4 posted 06-08-2015 07:03 PM

if i could go back in time…..i would have become a teacher of the gospel and would have learned woodworking with hand tools only, and i would have learned to carve…now my body wont allow me to do either, but i love to watch and still learn…enjoyed the blog Gary.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Andre's profile


3706 posts in 2664 days

#5 posted 06-09-2015 01:02 AM

“Wanting to be a craftsman, or a woodworker, there are, I believe limited choices. The emphasis these days is on novelty, efficiency with very little individual contribution; many schools follow this trend. There are relatively few schools, in fact very few schools that educate a person to become a complete craftsman in wood. One of the schools I have been following and observing is at Roberts Creek in Canada, it is called Inside Passage School. I know the people there, I like what they are doing and I like very much the way they are doing it. The emphasis is on hand skills, not primitive methods but efficient skills. Work that that can be traced to the maker, the hand, the eye and the heart. The staff is open and warm and generous and there is an opportunity there at Roberts Creek to develop the skills that support this approach. In fact the kind of work that I have for many years encouraged, the craftsman as an individual. I think that this will emerge gradually as the school for the complete craftsman. If I were starting my life today as a craftsman, and needed to learn what matters the most; my choice would be Inside Passage School.” – James Krenov

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View DocSavage45's profile


9018 posts in 3701 days

#6 posted 06-09-2015 01:41 AM


Isn’t it interesting that JK ended up teaching?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3662 days

#7 posted 06-09-2015 11:21 AM

You are full of it Gary…....................Wisdom, that is. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics