The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Selfie Ban

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On Memorial Day, my family and I went to a Church Service at Valley Forge National Park. While most of the attendees were adults, there were obviously children there with their families just as my daughter was with me. I saw a few of those kids on their cellphones before the service, and that in and of itself didn’t necessarily bother me all that much. I’m not a curmudgeon and I don’t think today’s generation of kids is doomed. I do think they are a little less athletic, a little too educated (for their ages) and a little more self-absorbed than kids of past generations, but those things are hardly signs of the apocalypse.

One thing I’m not fond of is the “selfie”. This may be cliché’, but I’ve seen kids walk into walls, into the street, and into other people while taking selfies. I personally think it is the worst trait of the cell phone generation, and when I saw a kid take a selfie it in the church it did bother me a little. I’ve taken one selfie in my life, which was a photo of me in a Halloween get-up, and the first was very likely the last. I’m not knocking the occasional selfie, just the people who spend hours of their day taking them.

So what am I getting at?

This blog became my own woodworking selfie.

If I can recall, I started this blog for two reasons, one being that I started to hate what I was reading in woodworking magazines, and two because I wanted friends of mine to see and read about what I was building. I won’t lie; vanity certainly played a part in that. In my defense, I don’t consider myself a vain person, at least not in an unhealthy way. A little vanity is, in my opinion, a good thing. A little vanity can keep you driven; too much vanity can make you a pathetic jerk.

Anyway, seeing that kid take the selfie in a church struck a chord with me for whatever reasons, so recently I made the conscious decision to hold back on the blog and not worry about documenting my every woodworking move. In doing so, I’ve gotten more woodworking during the past 3 weeks than I have in quite a long time. I can only attribute that to the fact that I’ve been far less worried over writing about what I’m doing and instead concentrating on actually doing what I’ve been doing. Don’t get me wrong, I still took some photos of my work, but when I did I wasn’t really worried about captioning them, and I sure wasn’t worried about showing the “steps” of the process. I just took a photo when I felt like taking one, and it made everything far more enjoyable. And that is how I think I will continue to work from now on.

I hesitated in writing this post, because I’m not trying to insult those woodworkers who also enjoy blogging. I would bet that in many cases blogging may actually help woodworkers by giving them new inspiration, or by helping them focus etc. And of course professional woodworkers may use a blog to promote their products or reach new markets. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things. But for me, blogging had become a distraction, and I think I will become a better woodworker if I stop worrying so much about documenting it, and rather focus more on just enjoying it.

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My “ingenious” clamp rack/shelf. I plan to write a post about this later…

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My long lost Enfield Cupboard finally has a finish coat of paint…

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#4 sole after its initial “probing”…

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The #4 “out of the box”…

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As flat as it needs to be….

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The iron and chip breaker after the initial clean-up…

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Starting to look like a working plane…

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9 Comments

  1. Kinderhook88 says:

    This is why I don’t blog more. It’s terribly distracting to think about trying to describe what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I enjoy video making more, but I’d rather just work quietly and mindfully, to be honest.

    • billlattpa says:

      I like blogging, and I like woodworking, but doing both hasn’t been feasible lately. I’ve been so busy lately that I simply can’t seem to do both. So what is going to get cut back? The blog of course.
      That isn’t to knock blogging; I’m just speaking for myself. I just don’t want it to feel like an obligation, and I especially don’t want to woodwork just to have something to blog about.
      So you’ve probably noticed that I’ve cut back on the posts a lot. This is the reason why.
      Thanks!!!
      Bill

      • Kinderhook88 says:

        I understand. Summer is here and I’m going to be real busy with work. Woodworking has come to (almost) a screeching halt.

      • billlattpa says:

        The good news for me is that I usually don’t woodwork much during the summer, but I’ve already managed to get in more than normal and we’re only in June. So maybe this year will be different.
        Thanks again!
        Bill

  2. bloksav says:

    I like the interaction of blogging, but I am admittedly not very good at pulling myself together and turning on the computer.
    One of the best things about blogging is when people actually comment on what you write.

    I suppose that you are right in that blogging can be viewed upon as sort of an advanced selfie, but I don’t completely agree.
    As I see it, a selfie is more aimed at being a proof that you were in a particular spot with or without other people at a certain time.
    Blogging on the other hand is more like a diary where other people can read and comment on stuff you do. Most bloggers show pictures of their hands and arms etc. and most of the time those are action photos, or photos where a finger is used to point out a certain thing in the process.

    Brgds
    Jonas

    • billlattpa says:

      I love the interaction, and I often got some really great advice and ideas from people who have commented on the blog.
      I honestly don’t think blogging is a “selfie” for most people, but it started to become one for me. I think the most interesting writing comes just from the natural course of woodworking. I didn’t want to start doing projects, or buying tools, just for the sake of writing about them on the blog. That to me is vanity rather than real woodworking/blogging.

      One example for my part would be Hand Tool Thursday on Instagram. I love it, and I love seeing what people post, but I very nearly purchased a few tools I didn’t really need just so I could post them on the page. I don’t ever want woodworking to come to that for me. I don’t want blogging to be an obligation or a distraction. I just want it to be a natural part of being a woodworker. So for the time being I am cutting back a little and seeing where it leads me.

      Thanks!! And here is hoping that you have fair weather!!
      Bill

  3. The selflies as you go are fun to look at for a reader! It definitely brings something to the post to know YOU are working on those things. 🙂

    • billlattpa says:

      I agree with that. I guess I was trying to say that I never wanted to write a post, or more importantly, build something that was completely unnecessary, just so I could take a photo of it and put it on the blog or on Instagram. At that, I think there are some, if not many, woodworkers who thrive because their blog, or Instagram, etc. gives them motivation to work. I just can’t seem to work that way.
      Thanks!!
      Bill

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