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Thread: Does lack of skill or instant gratification or cost affect your choice of woodworking

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Does lack of skill or instant gratification or cost affect your choice of woodworking

    While working away at sharpening chisels yesterday I had a few thoughts I got to wondering about....hence my questions.

    Does a lack of a particular skill prevent you from doing different facets of woodworking? Say adding a bead or some fancy effect like a carved edge or inlay ?

    Or is it the fact that a weekend warrior or hobbyist has limited time to get er done and hence seeks to follow the trail of the quick fix and seek the avenues of woodworking that provide a more instant gratification like say turning or simply making a ply cabinet.

    Or do you consider cost in that piece you have a desire to produce but wonder if its worthwhile and going to be appreciated case in point is a bed I was to make for my youngest son. If the eye of the beholder cannot tell the difference between hamburger and steak well why give em steak? In this case I would argue if they never have it they will never know or learn to respect the difference.

    I can see pros that do woodworking for a hobby being conscious of the cost benefit but I have also seen evidence of them doing the right thing regardless of cost. My case here is Chuck Thoits buying very decent hardware for his own kitchen. Aware of the opposite side.

    So what affects your choices related to woodworking........why do so few of us seem to venture away from rather narrow paths.

    Few of those pieces (save for Kens Shakers ) of the past that we all admire did not make use of either carving, inlay or veneering or fancy combos of carved turnings.

    What stops you from venturing down some of these other vortices? Besides most of these avenues take up far less space to practice and enjoy and some like carving are even portable. And speaking of skill as an excuse well think back to that high school project and there was a time when you could not even chop out a tenon and mortise without being shown first. Now we seem content to just cut square edges and plane smooth surfaces.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    The primary avenues I won't travel are those that don't appeal to me, such as period furniture and heavy carving. So far, I've built things ranging from small keepsake boxes to a king-size platform bed with storage. I don't really consider cost, but I do look for bargains. Actually, if you consider falling into the vortex on a small scale, I've made a few pens; at some point I'd like to expand my experience on my lathe. One of the best things I ever did for me/us is to build a vacuum pressing system. I really enjoy working with veneer and bentwood laminations. There is nothing I won't consider trying at least once, unless it just doesn't appeal to me.

    As to the cost of any of these things, I'm reminded of friends and acquaintances who look at my shop and say one of two things: 1) Man, with everything you've got invested in this stuff, you could have a heckofa nice boat. 2) With all the time you spend in your shop, when do you have time for golf? Some people just don't get it!
    Last edited by Bill Arnold; 10-08-2013 at 12:47 PM. Reason: Spelling
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    When I was able to do woodworking I always tried to challenge my self. Hand cut dovetail, various types of joining, etc. If someone is really up to a challenge set out and learn to make a chair. i consider this the most difficult piece to make properly due to the various angles required to make it bot comfortable and and sit properly. That is what I admired most about Sam Maloof. I think if you are going to grow in the hobby of wood working you should always challenge your skills.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Time and cost I'd like to think are my biggest factors, but some of the projects I'm most proud of I did when I had no money at all, just time. So that conclusion brings me to the point of trying to get things done the best I can in the time I've got.

    Like my current dresser project, I very well could have done dovetail joints on the drawers and used popular rather than birch ply, but opted to get them done quickly rabbets, glue, & nails. I spent the money for better full extension glides, appropriate hardware, and cherry hardwood for the facing. It will look good and be functional, but I somewhat am kicking myself for doing the drawers the way I did. However it will be a built in, they are built well for the purpose, and will stay with the house when we sell it in a few years. I don't think the quality is lacking enough to cause anyone to walk away from buying the house, I think it will add value still as I spent the time and money where it really counted. My wife will be happy as she will have her dresser finally.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    For me it's a combination of several things. Like Bill, there are some things I'm simply not interested in making. (And like Bill, period pieces and heavy carving are also on my "not interested" list, too.) In other cases, it's lack of space. I've wanted to build an armoire and a dresser for a number of years, but just really don't have the space in my shop to do it. And cost is another factor. There are several things I would like to build (once I get my hands on my shop equipment again) but simply can't can't justify the cost right now. One of the appeals of woodturning to me is the potential to start with free materials. Of course there are other expenses involved, but I don't have to buy 100 bf of lumber to start a project on the lathe.

    And as for learning new skills, I'm always trying new things and trying to improve existing skills. If you're not learning, you're dying.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    My actual motto is 'I never let a lack of skill or talent prevent me from trying something new'. That applies to pretty much everything I do, including woodworking.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Boston, MA
    For me it is largely a lack of time. With a 6-year-old to keep up with, I don't have the time to putter with new skills until they get good enough to use on a "real" project. I'd love to try doing veneer inlay at some point -- but that isn't something you just pick up and do. I'd need to buy some sheets and make some patterns I expect will get thrown away. Just don't have the time -- if I can get in the shop I want to make something I can show.
    Measure with a micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with an axe.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Most of the stuff I build is requested by someone so it can be simple or challenging. The more challenging it is the more fun I have. On simple projects I tend to screw up more. My biggest problem is lack of space to build something large. I've been procrastinating finishing up the hutch for my wife because it's too large to work on effectively in my shop. I need to build some sort of moveable or collapsible low table about 4' x 7' to put it together on.
    As much as I appreciate the folks who use lots of hand tools I have no problem whatsoever using a machine to cut dovetails ot other joints. To me the end result is the same. I've seen beautiful machine cut dovetails on machines and lousy dovetails hand cut and vice versa. Like Vaughn and Bill I have no desire to carve anything large.
    Probably the most challenging thing I've built is the mahogany drop front secretary desk I made for one of my daughters.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Fortunately the styles and areas I am attracted to provide a wide array of methods and techniques. I always try to do something that pushes my skillset a little further each time. Even on repeat items like picture frames, tables or cabinets you can put a spin on something, use a different joinery or a different way of achieving that joinery. This is what makes the craft rewarding to me.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    I'll try just about anything once - and my 'burn pile' has seen a lot of it.

    Often, I'll get intrigued by something in a magazine, catalog, etc. and decide to try it. Sure, I've had some failures (lots of them, actually), but I've also built some neat stuff and learned some interesting techniques.
    Jim D.

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