Harebrained Woodworking

Taking lumber samples from old building

Welcome to Harebrained Woodworking. 

Why did I decide to start a blog called Harebrained Woodworking?

I am a woodworking enthusiast who is doing his best to learn skills and build with quality.  I also fancy myself a bit of a writer even though my list of published pieces amounts to three items.  In March 2001, I had the privilege of attending a woodworking class taught by Christopher Schwarz, editor of Popular Woodworking magazine.  During one of our breaks, I asked him what would be the best way for a person to start writing for the woodworking magazine market.  His reply, which surprised me, was to start a blog.

So, here I am working to combine two things I spend a lot of time thinking about: Writing and Woodworking.  To that end, this blog is dedicated to my journey through the craft of woodworking.  I’ll share what projects I’m working on, what I’m learning, what mistakes I’ve made and other related woodworking topics that interest me.  I’m also hoping that any potential readers of this material will help drive the content, so please comment about your reactions to my posts.

Why Harebrained Woodworking? 

Three reasons:

1) Because I’m often accused of being harebrained in general. 

2) The woodworking ideas I come up with are sometimes just out of my range of skill and I wonder why I got the harebrained idea to try it.

3) Other ideas are harebrained whimsy I put together that don’t make sense to anyone else until they’re complete. 

Now, a little about my history as a woodworker.

I started woodworking when I was in fourth or fifth grade.  I would come to my Grandpa with an idea and he would help me find a way to make it.  For the most part I learned with hand tools.  I can’t say I really developed any skill, but I plugged away with hand saws, hand drills, hammers and screwdrivers making toys (mostly guns, swords, cars, and airplanes)out of scrap wood.

I took woodworking classes in high school and built the first rocking horse ever at my school.  I spent time designing boxes with secret locking mechanisms while pestering my instructor about what would work and what wouldn’t.  My imagination was definitely fueled by the possibilities of what could be made out of wood; however, I didn’t have the patience then to actually build any of the boxes I designed, and the drawings have since been lost.

Over time, I unintentionally put my woodworking on hold.  I didn’t really have any access to tools or machines.  I was busy going to school and working, and it was easy to make excuses for not spending time building anything. I always intended to come back to woodworking and over the years I did manage to build a shelf here and a box there.

After about 15 years of not building much I took a job (that I intended only to work for one summer) in a cabinet shop making raised panel cabinet doors.  On my first day the smell of sawdust hit me, awoke my latent interest, and an urgency to re-aquire my skills took over.  My employers were amazed at how fast I caught on, and I quickly was able to work without much supervision.  I spent almost two years there before moving on, snagging as much scrap wood as I could and building lots of small objects after hours and in my spare time.

I feel I’ve come full circle now.  Woodworking is a permanent part of my life and like I said above, I do my best to learn skills and build with quality.

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