When I built my first woodworking project as an adult, I didn’t have a single subscription to a woodworking magazine and the only woodworking book I owned was a tattered Graham Blackburn tome, “Illustrated Basic Carpentry,” from 1976. What I knew about joinery, glue and finishes could fit in a teaspoon (with room left over for sugar).
I didn’t know enough to be apprehensive about designing a sitting bench. Or that my joinery choices (dowels) were laughable. Or that I wasn’t supposed to put an oil varnish over a water-base stain. Or that I needed more than one sharpening stone to get a keen edge on my block plane.
Of course, the project came out just fine. I sit on it every day in our kitchen as I work out the groceries I need for dinner. Hundreds of guests have sat on it as our dinner parties inevitably moved to the kitchen. Its finish is well worn by nearly 30 years of use, but it is rock solid.
I could build a nicer bench, but this guy serves as a reminder not to act too smart. Or to make things too technical. And that ignorance – coupled with strong desire – can go a long way.
— Christopher Schwarz