by Bob Rozaieski
From the December 2013 issue, #208
As a result of the inherent beauty in the material, for some of today’s woodworkers, visual appeal is the primary consideration in construction. That’s because most machines can more easily overcome a board’s physical properties than a person using hand tools. Modern machinery has taken a good deal of the physical labor out of woodworking, and in many cases, has permitted the use of woods that traditionally would have been used for heat rather than woodwork.
As a student of traditional woodcraft, I was drawn away from the machines that I grew up and learned the craft with, and toward using traditional hand tools. However, to learn to effectively use my hand tools, I had to really learn about wood – something I hadn’t much concerned myself with before. Even if you aren’t into period furniture and woodwork, if you have any interest at all in hand work you’ll find it’s important to become a student of the material itself (and it’s a lesson from which every woodworker can benefit).