24 February 2011

Pace.

I was busy making 3/8" ash dowels for the drawbored mortise and tenon joints for the Roubo bench, when something became clear to me.  Woodworking is a very time consuming activity. 

At my stage I am slow not only because of my inexperience, but there are naturally more interruptions in the beginning.  You need to stop in order to re-hone a tool, but your sharpening station is not properly set up, or you are missing a honing guide or a stone.  You need to make a jig for the 1st time (mortising jig, table saw sled, guides to hold your sash clamps etc.).   Or you just need to stop to read about a process which you have never attempted before.  All these improve with time and practice.

But despite the above, there are a lot of detailed processes that go into woodworking.  And each process and sub-process is a skill on its own to acquire.  Measuring, laying out, preparing stock, joinery, making dowels, choosing the right glue, honing, tool selection, fettling, safety procedures, dust extraction, wood movement...get my point?



My conclusions: I admire the woodworkers of old who produced so much in so little time with hand tools only.  And if you want to be a woodworker, you had better be someone who enjoys the journey at least as much as you enjoy reaching the destination, because it's a long trip!