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Woodworking Skills…The Shape of Things to Come

Woodworking Skills

Woodworking skills - The beginning stages of the walnut maple vase.

The beginning stages of the walnut maple vase.

Ah! The importance of woodworking skills. Take a moment to think back to when you originally became interested in working with wood. What was it that sparked your interest in the wood craft? How did you feel when you picked up a woodworking tool for the first time? For what reason did you become a woodworker or carpenter? Was it to make furniture with tight fitting joinery? Could it be that you were drawn to hand tools or power tools? Let’s take a look to see where our woodworking skills are today.

“You become what you think about”
Earl Nightingale…American motivational speaker and author (1921-1989)

For some of us woodworking or carpentry may be or has been our livelihood and it continues to be our hobby in the workshop as well. Some of us have other jobs outside of woodworking and yet working with wood and a furniture plan is one way in which we enjoy spending our time. There’s just something good about having a wood shop where we can take our time and focus on our craft to build the things that we want. It’s just nice to be able to have an idea in our heads, to be able to work with our hands, and see a wood project being created. We are as much a part of it as it is a part of us. Perhaps as much as we make a project out of wood, it in return is making us in some way. The better our woodworking skills, the better our woodworking projects become.

Woodworking skills - Segmented Vase of Maple and Walnut

Segmented Vase of Maple and Walnut

This article is as much for the beginning woodworker as it is for the experienced woodworker. We all started this journey on day one with few if any tools or woodworking skills. Perhaps, there are of us that received some sort of training or maybe we just learned on our own. In either case, our woodworking skills define where we are in the wood craft today and what we are able to accomplish at any given time. As a result of improving our  skills, we are able to advance our woodworking tasks. Woodworking skills allow us to be able to create more and for a woodworker this is a sense of freedom. Simply put, woodworking skills is where it’s at. For a new woodworker this may mean learning how to sharpen a chisel, whereas for an experienced woodworker it may mean having all of our plane irons honed and hand planes ready for use when needed.

Woodworking skills - Wood Finish applied to a wanut and maple segmented vase.

Wood Finish applied to a wanut and maple segmented vase.

Together, we have many different levels of woodworking skills. However, something many of us do have in common is the desire to constantly improve what skills we do have. Perhaps there is something inside of us that continually reminds us how and why we first got involved in the woodcraft. Maybe it is the sense of pride that comes when we know that we are doing the best we can with the skills we currently have. It’s also knowing and trusting that we can and are improving towards our potential with each and every new woodworking challenge.



1.) Name one woodworking skill that you would like to improve upon.
2.) Why?
3.) What would it do for you?

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Remembering James Krenov

On September 9, 2009 James Krenov left us. However, he left us with a lot as we pay tribute. It will take a lot to replace this woodworker because after all when one hears James Krenov name mentioned one immediately thinks of fine woodworking, wooden planes, and woodworking books. Woodworkers respect this special craftsman and teacher who was passionate about building a cabinet as well as his other wood projects.

Perhaps in the case of James and the void that is left due to his passing we need to think in terms of his influence on so many other woodworkers, cabinetmakers, and furniture makers. It could be that the total aggregate of those he influenced will be the measure of this man. If indeed this is the case then it could be said that James’ work still continues today. How fortunate we are that he lived during our lifetimes.

“It’s not that I had a message that was outstanding or unique or anything like that. I just expressed the feelings that a great number of people had … ‘Live the life that you want to live. Don’t be unhappy in your work.'” …James Krenov

For another woodworking video of this master craftsman visit James Krenov…Legendary Woodworker 1920-2009.

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Congratulations to!

There are now 20,000 Lumberjocks members on This woodworking website was created by Martin Sojka. The following is a quote from Martin.

“I was dreaming about reaching 100 LumberJocks one day when I launched this website in 2005… Then, when it got going, 1,000 seemed likely but 20,000? No way! Fast forward to July 2010 and it’s party time once again in our family of 20,000 LumberJocks. I’m thankful and overcome with happiness that you decided to make this online community part of your life.

Sometimes I come across a post about ‘the good old days’. Yes, ‘the old days’ were really good but despite our huge growth I’m sure that our core essence is still intact and it will prevail. This woodworking community is still about creating, sharing, inspiring, motivating and learning. As a result, you can admire more fantastic projects and follow more successful woodworking stories every day.

I assure you that great news and updates are coming soon and that I will always strive to preserve our unique LumberJocks spirit.”

Thank you Martin for creating a terrific site and a wonderful woodworking online community. Here’s to your continued success and to the further success of fellow woodcrafters known as Lumberjocks !

Speaking of Woodworking…audio podcast for woodworkers

Speaking of Woodworking audio podcast for woodworkers

Subscribe to Speaking of Woodworking, an audio podcast for woodworkers of all levels of experience. Our focus is the craft of woodworking and we will discuss various procedures and techniques used in woodworking. Tune in. The more you listen, the more you learn!

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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