10 things I learned about me

drawer dovetails

Not since elementary school do I remember feeling so sad to see a summer end. After rushing to finish my project, rushing to pack and rushing to make it to my bro’s wedding, I’ve finally had some time to reflect on the last 12 weeks. As I told the groomsmen, making furniture up in Maine was fun, but making friends was funner. So to all my teachers and classmates, I thank you. Your encouragement elevated me more than you can understand. The following list of things I learned this summer will hopefully hit home.

  1. The first rule of wood school is “wood moves.” The second rule of wood school is “WOOD MOVES!” Seasonal expansion and contraction can make or break a piece. More often it’ll just leave your drawers jammed shut.
  2. Working with your hands takes brains. Woodworking is a test of your patience, your perseverance and your problem solving skills. Oh, and there are fractions involved too.
  3. When your work isn’t working out, walk away. For your piece’s sake, take a break. Do whatever you have to do to clear your head. My method is a Margarita.
  4. Before I was a woodworker, I was a perfectionist. One week into woodschool, I learned that perfection is for suckers. That said, never lower your standards, just keep your goals realistic. And remember, mistakes are just “design features.”
  5. Oily rags can spontaneously combust. Don’t leave them lying your shop. No joke.
  6. Chattoyance is my new favorite word. It describes the luster that certain wood figure lets off. It will likely be my first child’s name.
  7. Lobster is awesome and all, but for god’s sake Mainers, put something other than butter on it!
  8. I know two people who have set off a Saw Stop table saw. Somehow, both times, the saw was to blame ; )
  9. Woodworking is an endless sexual innuendo. The phrase “That’s what she said,” is applicable in 99% of woodworking conversations.
  10. Oh yeah, and at some point, I learned how to make furniture.

I’m back in Maine this week taking a quick course on woodturning. I’ll be studying under Alan Lacer, one of turning’s true masters. I’ll report back later this week…


3 Responses to 10 things I learned about me

  1. Sara says:

    Love the top ten! Sounds like you’re a true woodworker.

    Spontaneous combustion?! Would love to set up a camera and watch that happen.

  2. Hey Man,

    I read your post on Apartment Therapy and just wanted to let you know you how much I like your new table. It is great to find your blog. Keep up with the good work!

  3. John says:

    #3 should have been applied the day I was fitting my drawers. 🙂

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