I’ve been bouncing all around the Internet reading the many posts that are helping to get the word out about “Get Woodworking Week” – an idea conceived of and promulgated by Tom Iovino at Tom’s Workbench (where you’ll find links to the many other woodworking writers who are helping to spread the word). The idea is to encourage folks – especially those new to woodworking – to get off the couch and into the shop.
Today, Kari Hultman (The Village Carpenter) wrote about and shared pictures of some of her early work, and encouraged everyone to record their projects for posterity. I was not smart enough to do that – which is a darn shame, because I’d dearly love to get my hands on a shot of the turned candlesticks I made in my sixth-grade shop class; I’ve long been thinking those were my first woodworking project. (I thought my mom had my (no-doubt masterful) work – but she just looked (again), and no joy. I’m not blaming her – the woman has never in her entire life divested of a single item. So I must have given them away or burned them one winter.)
But yesterday, I came across what I think may actually have been an earlier work, tucked away in the corner of my dining room: a walking stick (for midgets) from most of which I lovingly stripped the bark with a pocket knife – but carefully left it just on the raised parts of the “handle” (which was expertly shaped by an obliging vine). Click on the picture for a close-up so you can see the dextrous knife work. (Cough.)
I’m fairly certain that must have been from when I was a “junior” at camp, which means I would have been between the ages of 9-12. I have no idea why I’ve been moving this piece with me from place to place for more than three decades – but I’m awfully glad now that I have.
So do what Kari says; not what I did. Keep a photo album (or disc or thumb drive or cloud folder) of all your work, no matter how green. Even if, years later, you find your early pieces risible, you’ll still be glad to see them – and proud to have produced them.
Now if I could just find those darn candlesticks….
• If you’re new to the craft, you might find my “Tool Basics for Getting Started” video helpful. On it, I introduce you to a core kit of tools every hybrid woodworker should have, and show you the basics of how to use them.