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Forum topic by JasonLoasching posted 03-30-2021 06:23 PM 353 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 46 days

03-30-2021 06:23 PM

I am Jason Loasching, a college student attending Texas A&M University-Commerce. I am tasked with writing an ethnography for my English 1302 class led by Mr. Radzinski. I chose to do mine over woodworking. I want to ask you some questions. You don’t have to answer but I would appreciate it if you would.

• When working on a project walk me through the steps you go through?

• What goes through your mind while working through a project? This question is similar to the last one but I want to know specifically what goes through your mind and how you turn it into your craft.

• What are the skills involved in woodworking? How do these skills interact?

I neglected to mention before that I will be posting 3 question a day for the rest of the week. The intro will always be the same due to new people seeing this post. thank you so much. and thankyou to everybody who gave responses last time you guys are great.

3 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile


2660 posts in 1672 days

#1 posted 03-30-2021 08:43 PM

Its like any other engineering task. Concept, design, specification, fabrication, finish.

I sketch with an eye to materials and fabrication and start making sawdust from there.

Want a walk thru of concept to completion? Read my latest BLOG on building an Indoor Car Stereo HERE

It details the entire design/build process and explains some of the design tradeoffs and decisions. It also explains the occasional oops moment and recovery.

I was a design/ manufacturing engineer for the aerospace industry in a past life. Project management and documentation is the same no matter what you’re building or what material you’re using. Even an object seemingly simple as a toothpick has an engineering control drawing and a detailed manufacturing process control flow document.

Even my rough “back of an envelope” sketches are titled, copyrighted, dated and signed to establish design ownership and patentability in case you get lucky and need to make a million of ‘em.

Parts are things you buy. Assemblies are what you get when you put two or more parts together. Salable units are one or more assemblies. Structure your information this way.

Learn CAD. Learn to code (PHP to start) Learn to think in 3D. Learn to see with your fingers (feel for flush/smooth/alignment etc.)

Think each operation through before you start. I don’t turn on a tool unless I know exactly what and how I’m going to make a cut. My hand positions and moves are all preplanned and sequenced to both minimize setups (impacts production cost) and maximize safety.

Even in a small shop SAFETY FIRST!

Traditionally carpentry and cabinet making are based on the apprentice program where the apprentice studied at the feet of the master and worked up. For a long portion of history everyone was skilled in some form of carpentry as woodworking was a survival necessity. Even today on “Naked and Afraid” the contestants first task is woodworking — building a shelter with a single blade.

Most learn by doing. Start with soft pine and make stuff that interests you. Buy tools as needed, cheap at first, better as skills demand. Woodworking is a motor skill — it improves with practice. Theory is great, theory is wonderful, but practice makes perfect.

A good reference, although not a how to, is the USDA “Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material”. Google it. Its a free download and goes into great depth about wood’s physical properties, strength, etc., etc., etc..

PM me for email if you’d like to discuss in more depth.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View JasonLoasching's profile


16 posts in 46 days

#2 posted 04-13-2021 07:02 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer Madmark2. You’ve been such a huge help.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26200 posts in 4189 days

#3 posted 04-24-2021 01:53 AM

I take on a project and take in mind the end use( indoor/outdoor) , the strength needed, the type of wood for the final product ( based on the cost I will charge for it) and the fastening and finishing methods.

The one thing I am always aware of after I draw it out is to get the machining steps in order and not to get ahead of myself where I might not be able to do one operations if I did another one first- like cutting away a gauge surface that I can no longer use to cut a shape or machine a detail that need that edge to gauge from.

One thing you have to assess is if you have the right machines to complete the project and you need the skills to use them safely and accurately . You need to know how the wood reacts to the machines too. When ripping , if you relieve the stress in the board, it may come off the table saw bent. In which case you need to rip it over size and cut it flat on a machine like a jointer.

When running a planer, you have to have a flat straight surface ( from the jointer or hand planing) on the bottom or you will make a parallel but curved piece .

When turning “green” wood, you have to expect it to move when drying and plan for it by either roughing it out and letting it dry or plan for an oval final piece if you turn it to completion right away.

All this comes with experience , learning from others mistakes or making the mistakes yourself from trial and error. Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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