Very often I am asked where I learned how to build furniture (or weld or build anything). Fortunately for us living in the Internet age you can all share in the love and knowledge. Books, videos, blogs – you name it – this woodworker is baring all.
I learned how to use, and more importantly become comfortable with, tools when I was young. Between my dad, grandpa and various church trips I gained a working knowledge of power tools. As I teach more and more intro woodworking classes, I am getting a sense that this is why most people are attending – use power tools for the first time. The unfortunate side of those classes is the overwhelming amount of knowledge and things to think about to use those tools safely and effectively.
Everyone knows that there is no substitute for rising and grinding. Sixty hour weeks in front of a table saw can teach you a lot of things about how to use one. Most of us don’t have that luxury. Enter the knowledge drop.
If you’re a woodworker, or generally someone that likes to create things, chances are you have a bit of autodidact in you. From the Greek auto, or self, and didaktos: taught. You self teach yourself skills because most of us don’t have a teacher (loss of skilled tradesmen, family background, etc.) and we do have the Internet (YouTube, Pinterest, WikiPedia). We can learn how to do anything very quickly – at least to what we might can call an 80% skill level. The last 20%, the bit that separates the masters from the beginners, usually has to be learned by hard work.
Here are some of my favorite places to look for guidance:
- Frank Howarth;
- ClickSpring not woodworking but a great study in how to do things well;
- Alain Vaillancourt;
- Paul Sellers;
- Tommy Macdonald;
- The Poplar Shop;
- Tom Lipton;
- Tom Fidgen.
From these folks you can find a great number of other videos to watch and learn from. In my opinion, these guys are some of the masters and spend a lot of time teaching the trade rather than hawking tools or upselling you.
Like any woodworker, I’ve got a lot of books. The first table I made left me with a router in one hand and a library card in the other. Like the videos, I really like to have a broad subject base to pull knowledge from. A technique from cabinet building can be applied to tea box design. You never know where you’ll find inspiration.
- The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker;
- The Nature and Art of Workmanship;
- The Nature and Aesthetics of Design;
- The Workbench;
- Understanding Wood Finishing;
- Building Small Boats.
Lots of books, even more topics. Put these on your Amazon wishlist for Christmas.
I really enjoy the woodworking community on Instagram. People are very helpful and are always sharing ideas and help. Here’s a smattering of a few folks I follow that are always posting tips and/or beautiful work:
Scope out these fine people and keep an eye on who they follow to get even more ideas.