As the editor of a woodworking publication, I spend my days reading and writing about woodworking, and talking to other woodworkers about projects they’re doing. Part of my job is to research new techniques, new makers, interesting designs and woodworking history. (I also spend my fair share of time in meetings and talking about initiatives and business goals and all that jazz, trying to hurry it up so I can get back to the woodworking.)And then, I get to put it all into a magazine and send it to you. Hopefully, you’ll find it inspiring, and maybe you’ll even make some of the projects. That’s the goal at least. It is work, but it’s some of the most worthwhile, fulfilling work a person can do, and I’m very grateful to be able to do this.
Most of my workshop time is spent alone. My shop is really only big enough for one person to work efficiently. I’ll spend hours out there listening to music, milling and fitting parts, experimenting with ideas, building shop projects and generally just thinking about making things. If my girlfriend asks, I’ve been hard at work on the next project for our house. But sometimes, it seems like even putting on my shoes to head out to the shop seems like a chore—usually when I have hours of sanding and finishing work ahead of me. And it’s times like that when it hits me how important community is.
Being part of the woodworking community takes work. It’s up to you to get out of the shop and take more classes, meet new people and learn new skills and techniques. Is there something you want to learn, but can’t find someone to teach it locally? Get some friends together and bring someone in to teach! You don’t need to be a store or a magazine to do this. You just need a few folks and enough space to build some things for a few days. Yes, you might get out of your comfort zone. You might have to send some emails. You might have to call in some favors. But I can tell you: It’s worth it. You know just how much woodworking means to a person; it’s up to you to share that with others.
Making in person connections, sharing skills and helping each other get better at woodworking is a good start in creating community. Volunteering your time to get your neighbor acquainted with the table saw, or help repair some furniture, or do some work on their house is just as worthwhile. All someone needs is a little bit of encouragement and a friendly person to share their tools, and they start down this same path. And you know what? Seeing that excitement, that growth in another person will inspire you to get back into your own shop.
Yes, this all takes work, and takes away from precious shop time. But, in the end, it’s likely those people you’ve met and worked with, that you’ve helped and who have helped you that you’ll continue to carry with you. And really, in the grand scheme, maybe that’s what we’re all after in the first place.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.