How wide or narrow is your woodworking interest?

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 01-09-2012 04:48 PM 1845 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 4090 days

01-09-2012 04:48 PM

I enjoy a wide range of woodworking projects. I make everything from large items (bed, communion rail) to small items (whistle or even refrigerator magnets). I also enjoy turning and I turn relatively large items and very small items and everything in between. I like working with a wide variety of woods. About the only things I do not like doing are scrolling and carving.

I will add that I really enjoy doing my own design work. Coming up with the design is sometimes as much fun as doing the construction. I can “work” on design even when I am not in the shop.

I often think that if I focus on a narrower range of interests I could better develop my skill in this area. I know of several woodworkers who are much more focused on a narrow range of work. I know several people who are primarily turners or scrollers or box makers. Those who are more narrowly focuses can usually get by with fewer tools and smaller shops.

The problem for me is that I enjoy a wide range of types of work.

How about you? Are you a “general practitioner” or a “specialist”?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

34 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7913 posts in 3930 days

#1 posted 01-09-2012 05:02 PM

My focus, as a relative beginner of 1 1/2yr, is to build Mission Style furniture. I have several old pieces in the home and just love the simplicity of the utilitarian design. I am starting with bookcases and will follow up with small tables and such.

I guess a close second would be making/using tools and jigs to do other things. I always find it fun to have to figure out new things.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3939 days

#2 posted 01-09-2012 05:16 PM

I guess I’m in the general catagory. I see something that looks interesting, I build it. I’m also into scrolling and carving. Haven’t tried turing yet but that will come in the future. Sometimes the project turns out okay and sometimes I consider it so,so. But I like the challenge.

-- Life is good.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51458 posts in 4496 days

#3 posted 01-09-2012 05:18 PM

I lean towards colonial reproductions. I do like Mission much like Mike. I occasionally do smaller pieces like cutting boards, serving trays, etc., for Xmas gifts, but I spend most of my time building larger pieces.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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Jim Finn

2874 posts in 3938 days

#4 posted 01-09-2012 05:31 PM

I also enjoy coming up with the idea and the pattern for different items. Lately I have been making a lot of small cedar boxes and some intarsia and other wall hung items. I have my lathe packed away for over 5 years now. Turning does not interest me… this time.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3709 days

#5 posted 01-09-2012 05:32 PM

^Like Wayne, I like colonial reproductions but I’m yet to really execute a massive piece. I plan to, would love to, need to, but I just haven’t bit the bullet on a massive highboy, etc. When I got a lathe, I was fully prepared to get sucked in. I found that I don’t really enjoy it all that much. I like straight, flat, and strong joinery; so it’s a bit surprising to me that I don’t like Mission. Weird.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 5022 days

#6 posted 01-09-2012 05:38 PM

””How about you? Are you a “general practitioner” or a “specialist”?””

I you’re in woodworking for a living long enough you can’t help becoming some of both. The market eventually demands you attempt most everything and you discover you’re actually much better suited at some things over others.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

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Jacob Lucas

100 posts in 3448 days

#7 posted 01-09-2012 05:42 PM

I LOVE Mission style, Live Edge, and sometimes even Modern!

View DS's profile


3687 posts in 3436 days

#8 posted 01-09-2012 05:47 PM

I agree with miles125, the market mostly determines what I am working on. While I get to accept or reject any project, the customer usually determines what they want. (Usually, I am making cabinetry, or fine furniture.)

I have projects I do that are not for income, but most of those are made to give to someone else, so what gets made is usually determined by thier needs and not my preference of projects I want to make.

It seems I never have enough time to just make something of whimsy for the fun of it. Sad, I know.
Perhaps, when I retire I’ll get to make lots and lots of those things.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View HorizontalMike's profile


7913 posts in 3930 days

#9 posted 01-09-2012 05:54 PM

”Perhaps, when I retire I’ll get to make lots and lots of those things.”

There you go! That’s just how/why I started doing this. I wonder just how many others are retiree newbie woodworkers?


-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View JockChris's profile


70 posts in 3370 days

#10 posted 01-09-2012 06:00 PM

My projects tend to be mid- sized tables to small items as weight can sometimes be a issue for me… but it doesn’t limit me to bigger items just means I need a helper from time to time. My shop is also in a basement with a door width of 28 ” wide so I am limited to the size I can build in my shop.

View shipwright's profile


8680 posts in 3814 days

#11 posted 01-09-2012 06:03 PM

I guess I fit into the “general” category. I built larger projects when I was younger and have done some very small ones lately. My recent focus has been on marquetry I like to carve too. When I was working much of what I built was to plans by necessity. Now I like to design my own stuff. To me woodworking is a journey and I’ll go wherever it takes me.

You’ll have to excuse me. I just learned how to use the “link” button. I’ll settle down soon :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View sras's profile


5885 posts in 4145 days

#12 posted 01-09-2012 06:17 PM

Rich – you have started some very good discussion threads lately. They have been enjoyable to read.

I am very much a general practitioner. I have enjoyed making furniture, boxes, frames, shop jigs, cabinets, carvings, scroll work, lathe projects, boat building and carpentry.

I am looking forward to trying out techniques such as intarsia and segmented turnings.

I would like to build a Maloof style rocker and some furniture with a Greene and Greene influence at some time.

I almost always design my own pieces and sometimes just work by eye and skip plans altogether.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5234 days

#13 posted 01-09-2012 06:32 PM

I have a wide variety of woodworking interests. Most of my projects tend to be small because that’s what works best with my small shop and limited materials budget. But I enjoy making a larger functional item, like a bookcase, just as much as I enjoy making a small decorative box. Turning is another area that I really like, because it is very different from other types of woodworking. And then there is the joy of jig-making…. Well, I think you get my point. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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5777 posts in 4248 days

#14 posted 01-09-2012 06:43 PM

I would say very wide. About the only woodworking that doesn’t hold personal interest for me is intarsia. I have some favorites though. I have the most fun turning on my lathe, but then again, I also enjoy more carpentry type stuff like building sheds and the like…

So far I have only been the “help” on larger scale fine woodworking projects (team effort, 4 of the men from my old church made a desk, credenza, and book case for the pastor’s office… I did most of the cutting, and routing profiles, other guys did the joinery, and still another did most of the finishing… Aside from shop projects, the largest project I have done for myself is a step stool for my wife that she loves…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View SPUTTER's profile


17 posts in 3347 days

#15 posted 01-09-2012 06:47 PM

Just starting as a rookie, tinkered about 20 years ago and then bought a new home and wanted to do more. Currently I am doing a project for my granddaughter (toy chest) then like to work up to bigger projects. Small shop and not a lot of tools yet plus like I said learning more and more every day from LJs. I guess you could put me in the newbie general catagory.

-- Ron - Indiana

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