Welcome to the first column in my woodworking section. Machinist purest should understand that woodworking is just a softer method of machining.
This SAWDUST article is dedicated to sharing my passion for woodworking with anyone else interested. Other hobbyists and onlookers are welcome to join the TEDEX forum to ask questions and leave comments.
I have always aspired to the “fine woodworking” side of the woodworking hobby or at least “nice woodworking.” There is no stuffed shirt attitude here. I admit in the past to have made a dozen plywood cut out candy canes for Christmas yard decorations. But that isn't my passion nor is it fine woodworking. It does help justify a garage full of tools to Gloria, my very supportive spouse. Gloria also provides a lot of furniture design ideas for me (or actually herself…)
I make no claim to be an expert or to have “studied in or under” a famous name school or patriarch of the craft. My younger brother Jim and I grew up with a grandfather who spent all of his working life and 90% of his free time working with wood. Jim and I from an early age (about 4 & 5 yrs old) were privileged to share some of our (supervised) play time within his work shop. We didn't just watch. We had our own (junior sized) hand tools and made real things with wood. Young boys’ imaginations can do much with cutoffs and scraps!
Jim now loves finish carpentry and has built and finished several personal homes. I like making furniture and built in cabinets. Our grandpa’s final years were spent in restoring antique furniture. That has rubbed off on us too. (Pun intended.) Working with wood is as natural to a Kautz as driving a car.
It has been acknowledged that early life exposure is very fundamental in developing interest, skills and an “aptitude” in a particular activity. We were privileged to have that early exposure. This early start didn't’t automatically make my brother or me expert woodworkers. It was just play at first. The 20 some continuous years of exposure (before grandpa’s passing) made us comfortable with the craft and the use of woodworking tools. It is that comfort and lack of fear that I define as aptitude. This aptitude carries us through to the present time.
I have studied woodworking continually for all the adult years since those “initial 20.” I have a bookshelf full of purchased hard cover books and years of magazine subscriptions. A life in construction related activities has provided the shops, tools and hands on opportunity to tackle many wood working projects. So it is this 55+ years of doing, practice, reading, study, training and experience that has brought me to where I am today.
Gloria knows after her 45+ years with me, all my previous woodworking projects and what I am capable of creating. I have just built a machine shop (another interest) at our present home location. With my machine shop complete and with Gloria’s urging, I am now re-establishing my woodworking shop. After four major cross country moves; shops, tools, projects and opportunities have come and gone.
I am blessed that I can purchase higher quality power tools at this point in my life. However, that does NOT make me a better woodworker. I have done well with just good hand tools and low cost rip and miter saws. It is how a person uses a tool that produces the mark of a craftsman. Not the color or brand name. Please note I wrote low cost, not junk tools.
Stay tuned to these "THWS" workshop pages as I expand my display of tools and projects. I don't know where this will go. At this point it is too early to say. I know everyone reading these pages love seeing tools up close.