My Own Road to Damascus #1: Why do I do this?

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Blog entry by Kookaburra posted 07-14-2012 09:11 PM 2098 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My Own Road to Damascus series Part 2: My first hand cut dovetail! »

I have been asking myself why I love woodwork. Is it finishing projects quickly or is it the process itself? I do not have any need for production work – this is not an income stream for me (far from it actually!). So what is the benefit of tools and gadgets designed to speed up the process?

The feel of wood under my hand, seeing something take shape as I work, the discovery of what the wood wants to be, and the pure pleasure of doing something well – those are the things that keep me in the shop.

With that in mind, I am embarking on a project to convert to an all-hand-tools operation. It won’t be instantaneous, and it likely will not be without some serious backtracking and detours. And I may decide at some point to drive off the road entirely, but I will not know until I try.

My planned approach:
- Go slow. Take my time completing projects, practice techniques before using them in a project, start simple, buy tools as I need them. Relax!
- Don’t compromise. Only start projects I am excited about. Get the right wood for the project. Do it over if I am not pleased with the results. Be proud of my work.
- Be happy. Stop working on something if I am frustrated – sometimes a little break is all it needs. If I am tired or cold or hot, let the work sit. There is no deadline or requirement that I work 2 hours every night. Life is full of too many other stressful things – woodworking does not have to be on that list. Have fun.

So this is going to be the place where I keep a log book of this journey. In six months I may read this and think what a fool I was. Or I may smile and remember the enthusiasm that started me down a new road. In any case, I will be a different person in six months and I won’t know until then who that person is going to be.

So, I am off to try something new.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

6 comments so far

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3678 days

#1 posted 07-14-2012 10:34 PM

Sounds like a wonderful journey may begin for you Kay. I have enjoyed the ever challenging world of traditional handtool woodwork for about two years now. I have no formal training, just a musician and graphic designer by trade that stumbled across this PBS show that made me say to myself ”Hey…I remember this guy!” I took my first steps enjoying Roy Underhills Woodright Shop….and I was totally hooked. I was about to purchase a circular saw and a few other electric tools….after a few episodes with Roy needless to say I never got around to purchasing the electric tools….lmao!

I look forward to your adventures and if you have not had a chance….enjoy the world of the Woodrights Shop!

Great shavings, have fun!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View tsangell's profile


216 posts in 3769 days

#2 posted 07-15-2012 02:31 AM

Sharp saws and sharp planes to you!

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3348 days

#3 posted 07-15-2012 11:45 AM


Keep your irons sharp and your fingers at the other end. ;-)

Best Wishes on your journey. – Grandpa Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3912 days

#4 posted 07-15-2012 07:34 PM

I wish you luck. I like the hand tools when I head out there at night and just want a nice relaxing evening with no noise. It does make for a fairly pleasant experience.

-- A posse ad esse

View DanoP's profile


135 posts in 3416 days

#5 posted 09-20-2012 04:46 AM

I love your approach to woodworking. I too have been able to say that this is my time. I build what I want, when I want. I have a lot of people ask me to build them “one of those” or “sell me one”... I’ve gotten real good at saying no without hurting their feelings. Create – have fun – enjoy the feel of fine wood and sharp tools.

-- We've got enough youth. Let's search for a fountain of smart.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3943 days

#6 posted 09-20-2012 10:22 AM

May you always be happy in your work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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