With the new year upon us, it has me thinking about what I want to accomplish woodworking-wise for the next 12 months. New tools to try, new projects to tackle, new techniques to learn, etc. Here’s what I have so far:
Learn to scroll saw. I’ve always been intrigued watching someone cut out intricate shapes with a scroll saw. It seems to be creative and fun. Plus the machine is quiet, relatively dust free, fairly safe, and doesn’t take up much shop space. If I had a scroll saw, I would use it for marquetry, holiday ornaments, and miscellaneous other artsy endeavors. Perhaps even to cut dovetails. I’ve also thought about trying my hand at intarsia and a scroll saw is indispensable for that.
Pocket-screw joinery. I’ve resisted using pocket-screw joinery because it seems like cheating. Not something a real craftsman would employ. But my resistance has softened over time and I do see the value of pocket screws for certain applications such as holding together the face frame of a cabinet. Or attaching an apron to the underside of a table. I read that the ancient Egyptians supposedly used pocket-screw joinery and that also made me a little more accepting of the technology. So, I think I’m ready to move forward. I’ll need to purchase a pocket hole jig – Kreg is the big name here – and then find some projects in which to use it. That shouldn’t be too hard.
Build an heirloom piece. I think I’m ready to take it up a notch and build a piece of heirloom quality furniture. Something substantial with solid wood, challenging joinery and timeless appeal (or at least something my kids would be proud to have in their house some day). Candidates include an arts and crafts end table or hall table, a Windsor chair, a Morris chair, a high boy, a settee. Or maybe just a fancy chest.
Take a woodworking class. Videos and books are useful but nothing beats a hands-on woodworking class taught by an expert. At least, that’s what I’ve been told by friends that have taken classes. Plus, some classes provide tools that you may not own yourself so it’s a way to get experience with a particular tool to help you decide if it’s worth buying the tool or not. Classes of interest to me include wood turning, scroll sawing, tool sharpening, inlay, and advanced joinery.
These woodworking goals seem very attainable. I’ll report in a year how things worked out…