The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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A quick poll

Lately I’ve been struggling to find any free time for woodworking among other things. This is generally my favorite time of year to woodwork, the weather is warm and comfortable, but the heat and humidity of the summer are still weeks away. It left me wondering how many woodworkers in my situation also manage to find time to woodwork. Basically, my schedule is as follows:

Wakeup 5 a.m.
Leave for work 6:15 a.m.
Work 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Return from work 6 p.m.

Like most people I work Monday thru Friday. I also work every other Saturday. Of course, there are the typical things that needed to be done around the house like washing clothes, cleaning, making sure bills are paid, lawn work, etc. I also go to the gym either 3 or 4 nights per week depending on the week. Luckily the gym is just a short distance from my house so that generally takes no more than 90 minutes of my time. Couple all of this with things like having dinner and spending time with my family and it doesn’t add up to a whole lot of free time. At that, I would have to think that my schedule is pretty typical for most people in my age demographic. So my question is: Do other woodworkers struggle to find free time for woodworking as much as I do? I would love that answer to be “yes” just to know that I’m not the only one in that boat.

Disclaimer

The following blog entry may contain material and opinions that some consider offensive. If you do not enjoy strong opinions; if you do not wish to read any opinion but your own; if you feel it is acceptable to disagree with another person’s opinion but get angry when people disagree with yours; if you are a strong practitioner of hero worship; if you have trouble with the concept of ‘sarcasm’; if you have trouble with the concept of ‘artistic license’, if you believe everything you read; if you feel that any deviation from the norm is some sort of character flaw; if you feel that a disagreement is disrespectful; if you enjoy when other people do the thinking for you; if you cannot understand the difference between an ideological disagreement  and an insult; if you feel that it is impossible to respectfully disagree with another; if you believe that being a talented woodworker automatically makes a person’s opinion indisputable; if you are a zealot; if you are an elitist; if you take everything seriously; if subtle humor is lost on you; if I say “tomato” and you say “toe mah toe”, then you will likely not enjoy this particular blog. Thankfully, there are many other woodworking blogs out there written by talented woodworkers and writers. I would highly recommend seeking out one or more of those blogs for your reading enjoyment. Thank you for understanding.

 

Sincerely and Respectfully

Bill L

I will follow

I’ve mentioned many times before on this blog my propensity to follow woodworking blogs. I follow many amateur blogs and a small handful of professional blogs (as well as one Legendary Blog). Like most people nowadays, I have a Twitter account. With that account I generally follow other woodworkers, once again both amateur and professional, as well as a few friends. Yesterday afternoon I culled about 30 accounts from my “following” page. Most of those were sports related, and there were a few “celebs” as well. I like James Franco as much as the next guy, but I really don’t need to read any of his daily ramblings. I truthfully don’t think too much of Twitter, as in I neither love or hate it. But there is one feature of Twitter that caught my eye. On Twitter it is easy to see how many people are being “followed” on each account.

Why does this seemingly innocuous stat bear any importance? On Twitter, nobody cares how many people you follow, right? It’s all about how many people are following you, isn’t it? Well, there is one thing that is very telling about that feature. I’ve noticed that several people I follow(ed) who happened to have a large amount of their own followers did not follow very many people themselves. I personally follow nearly everybody that follows me. Why? Because the way I see it, if a person is following me because they like what I have to say, chances are I would like what they have to say as well. I feel the same way about woodworking blogs. So a person with a large number of followers, that also seems to have a hugely disproportionate number of people he or she follows (or does not follow), tells me a lot. It tells me that they don’t care.

I’m not talking about celebrities in this instance. You obviously can’t expect a person or group with 3 million followers to reciprocate on every occasion. But when a woodworker has 2000 followers and he or she is following 18 people, it comes off to me as a person who wants everybody to know what he or she is thinking, but could really care less about anybody else. Is this a stretch? No, because the “phenomena” has been somewhat documented, though under a different context.

So why does this bother me? Firstly I don’t care for self-important people. Secondly, it tells me that the woodworking “community” and its “celebrities” are not so much a community but more like a clique. I’m not a “Star F#$^er”, and I would hardly expect everybody I follow to return the favor, but I would expect them to follow at least somebody. As I said, I follow very few professional blogs because I think most of them suck. And I’m not here to tell anybody what to do. But I think everybody should think twice before we give our most important commodity, our time, to people that care very little about anybody but themselves.

Project Rebirth Update

Though I had a busy day planned today, in particular with a blizzard impending, I managed to get in just a few more minutes with my beading plane, and it was well worth it.

To sharpen the actual bead on the plane iron I decided to give the sandpaper a try. I wrapped a piece of 220 grit around a 3/8 dowel and proceeded to hone. In roughly 5 minutes, I managed to get a nice looking iron. I proceeded to give another practice bead a go, and the results were impressive. The shavings were a lot more even and the bead more crisp. When I get more time, I will hone to a higher grit as well as use the slip stone. All in all, this rehab seems to be going very well.

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He is Legend…

Believe it or not, but I am a fairly humble person. I think it is due to my working class (i.e. poor thug) background. Though I may be humble, I also am pretty intelligent, and I like to believe that I am rather perceptive, and I have good taste when it comes to things such as woodworking blogs.

About a year or so ago I began reading a woodworking blog (or maybe it wasn’t even technically a blog yet, I don’t exactly remember all the details) that I enjoyed immediately, and I felt had a lot of potential to be great. Maybe it’s because I could relate to the guy writing it. We’re both roughly the same age, we are both too young to have grey hair, and we both enjoy woodworking and writing about it.  Admittedly, this gentleman is a far better woodworker than I am, but that doesn’t stop me from comparing myself to him.

However, I would like to set all narcissism aside as this blog post isn’t about me, but rather about woodworker Graham Haydon, who now will be a contributor to Popular Woodworking magazine (or maybe more-I don’t know for sure). I was extremely happy to read his first contribution to the PW Editors blog this morning, and I hope to read many more. Graham is a highly talented woodworker and writer, good on camera, and though we’ve never met, he seems like a hell of a nice guy. So I would like to be one of the first to welcome my English Brethren and wish him the greatest success. If his current body of work is any indication, I think we will be seeing some great work coming from Graham Haydon, and I’m happy to say I saw it all coming. Hail Britannia!

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