This week in the shop - A promise: practice with purpose

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Blog entry by Woodbutchery posted 06-03-2017 04:54 PM 1395 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This morning I spent some time in my shop happy to have my little a/c unit that knocks the edge off a muggy Houston morning. And as I sat in my shop, I did what I usually do, which is look around, then see if there’s anything I want to tackle today, then I set about doing it.

Which leads to some frustration because I haven’t managed to instantly master all the aspects of woodworking that I want or need to have in order to just blithely enter my shop and start building something. Plans? Who needs those? Skills? I WATCHED the video FOUR TIMES!!!! What do you want? Practice?


I need to practice. I need to practice making designs for projects rather than simply just running toward the wood and flinging it toward the saws and hoping that my math is right and my measurements are exact and trying to accomplish three days work in three hours and running things together much as this sentence has done. It is a fact that practice will help to get you better at doing a thing if you practice with purpose. Simply going and hacking at a piece of wood with a saw, a chisel, or a hand plane is not the same as having a purpose to the hacking, a result I want to achieve.

So today I had two projects that I accomplished, one following the previously mentioned whirlwind of creativity and missed measurements and sloppy final product, and the other which I slowed down and followed the instructions as they were written and took the time to think about presenting the plane to the board and let the tool do the work with my guidance rather than forcing it.

The first project, a rack for screwdrivers to sit in my tool cabinet, really bites when it comes to functionality and looks, and I will be looking at other designs and working on a plan to buld something better. The second project, a set of clamping cauls for future panel glue-ups, came out exactly like they were supposed to.

When I step back and look at it from the knowledge of having taught others different techniques in programming, system design, or learning music by oral tradition, the need for purposeful practice is obvious. Like most people, I just forgot about it in the rush to try to move forward with projects or just do something.

... and off we go!

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

2 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1248 days

#1 posted 06-03-2017 05:02 PM

Amen! I thoroughly enjoy your writing.

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2805 days

#2 posted 06-03-2017 09:48 PM

“instantly master all the aspects of woodworking”

Let me know if you find the solution I will be most interested, sounds exatly my routine each day …minus the workshop

-- Regards Rob

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