Last week I spent a few days in the Raleigh-Durham area with the Triangle Woodworkers Association. Friday night the club gathered for its monthly meeting where I did a presentation on secret compartments (for more secrets, read my article from 2009) as well as talked about period furniture details.
I’ve done a number of these over the last few years at various woodworking clubs throughout the region. The part I like best about doing these presentations is meeting such great people. Some might say it’s the soft drinks and cookies but, for me, the people are the best. Without exception every club/guild/association I’ve been to has been chock-full of people who are willing to listen and share their woodworking experiences. The Triangle Woodworkers Association fits right into that mold.
If you’re in the Raleigh-Durham area they are definitely the club to check out if you want to learn more about woodworking in the company of some of the nicest woodworkers around.
Saturday morning a handful of us gathered at a member’s shop for a two day class on making a simple Delaware Valley box. The woodworkers in attendance were varied in skill level but the project proved a challenge even to the most experienced.
For some, it was their first experience with hand-cut dovetails and for others it was their first time cutting mitered dovetails (for more on dovetailing check this out). We used both hand and power tools to make the boxes. Some wanted more of a hand-tool experience so they made the ovolo mouldings for the box using moulding planes. For me the best part of the entire weekend was watching people with a common interest share a really exciting experience. I watched as those who struggled with some of the steps were helped by those who got it. This dynamic shifted amongst the woodworkers present, each helping another when and where they could.
It’s that willingness to help as well as learn from one another that is the common thread amongst woodworkers. It’s the sharing of experiences, techniques, tips and tricks that has motivated me to shift from purely making furniture to participating in the greater woodworking community. The people are what makes attending, presenting and getting involved in woodworking clubs, online forums and blogs (as well as events like Woodworking In America) such tremendous experiences. Anyone can sit in his or her basement or garage workshop and figure out how to build something. When you invite a few woodworking friends to join in, it becomes fun.