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Teaching SatisfactionI’ve been helping out a friend with a college project (in case it wasn’t obvious, it’s a wall-hung wine and liquor cabinet with a detachable serving tray) and while it’s mostly been a favor, it’s also been a privilege that has shown me that teaching is its own satisfaction. While helping my friend was a chance to do a little teaching, it really wasn’t the intention…I just couldn’t help myself.

Melaina’s goal wasn’t to learn woodworking, but just to finish her project. She was likely (very politely) putting up with my efforts to educate during the process, but I think she actually was learning and not hating it. For someone who didn’t know that iron-on veneer tape existed before we started, she came to appreciate the ability to turn an ugly plywood edge into an attractive façade. And she even learned to miter the corners!

Creating a simple handle for the serving tray out of two connected holes was a little bit of magic to her, but a trusted technique for me. If sharing a simple bit of knowledge can inspire someone else – well, that’s teaching!

But it was much more than giving me satisfaction. She enjoyed the process of creating and understanding that woodworking isn’t that hard and that she is certainly capable of building furniture. That was satisfying for both of us!

So I’m encouraging all woodworkers to take the time to share what you know and inspire someone. It doesn’t have to be anything formal, just helping out a friend can be just right. A small success may lead to a future woodworker that can also pass on the craft – and the satisfaction.

If you’re looking for simple projects to teach without turning it into a college course, take a look at our I Can Do That projects. Just what the teacher ordered!

– David Thiel

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Bill Hylton