• Carla Urbany

Build confidence in the shop

It’s surprisingly common to meet a new woodworker who has some pretty high expectations for their first project. They are convinced that they need breadboard ends. Yet, they demonstrate that they have not taken the time to learn about the different woods, or the tools or techniques that will be needed to complete their goal. Their tool collection consists of a skill saw and a hammer, and they have never glued two boards together.

It’s never my intent to squash anyone’s dream, but approach your first woodworking project this way and you’ve set yourself up for failure—and it could be expensive.

For your own safety and sanity, experiment with something small. Everyone loves a nice cutting board. It’s functional, practical and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. But more importantly, it will give you the opportunity to become familiar with your tools—what you have and what you need. It will also allow you to gain experience with what it takes to create a good glue up—a woodworking staple! Knock out a few cutting boards, or impress your friends and call them charcuterie boards (they will think you’re trendy). Whichever project you choose to tackle first, just take the opportunity to gain some confidence and then move on to bigger, more complicated tasks!

On the other hand, I take tremendous pleasure when I can see that a new wood person has taken time to research their project and the how-to’s that go along with it. It has nothing to do with me or anything I’ve said or done, it’s just that I see someone who appreciates the craftsmanship of woodworking and they are helping to ensure a long, enjoyable relationship with the craft.

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