I’m a sucker for new year’s resolutions. As a pragmatic optimist, I really like the idea of a fresh start, a time to make your life better, for no other reason than a pope in the 16th Century decided that January 1 was the first day of the new year.
Some of my more memorable resolutions involve various foodstuffs. (I gave up pizza, my favorite food, for an entire year once. Another year, it was sweets.) Lots of resolutions are about health. This year, my resolution is to work with wood every day. Not just think about woodworking, or write about woodworking, or watch a bunch of YouTube videos about woodworking. Actual hands-on, making chips and sawdust, every day.
I don’t think it’s going to be easy. But I also don’t think it’s going to be as hard as I’m thinking it is right now. Wood surrounds us. There’s a shop waiting for me out my back door. There’s a second stash of tools in the basement. I usually have a pocketknife.
Really, it’s more about priorities. Would I rather watch TV or woodwork? Do I want to get up early and get an hour in the shop before I sit down at my desk for the day? Do I pack a couple knives and spoon blanks for a roadtrip? In 2020, my answer is yes.
Studies tell me that many of our readers are empty-nesters or retired, that the right time for most people to start woodworking is when they have more time. My resolution means that I’ll have to make time and likely sacrifice other things. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit watching football this fall. There’s really no reason I can’t have the game on in the shop.
Writing this seems daunting, but I’m excited about the opportunities. Exploring ideas both good and bad, learning and practicing new skills and likely spending more time in the shop than I ever have before.
2020 also holds a lot of promise for Popular Woodworking. You’ll see more content from our archives of Popular Woodworking, American Woodworker and Woodwork on the website. Our goal is to turn it into one of the best resources for woodworkers at any point in their journeys. We’re also going to continue working with some of the best makers, writers and builders to develop new stories, seek out new tools and techniques, and do our best to inspire more people to make more furniture and functional objects.
We’re planning a few more recurring departments (including Turning). We’re making more room for design. And we’re going to continue to incorporate materials beyond wood into our builds (see here and here). I can’t guarantee you’ll want to build everything you see in these pages, but I’m hoping you’ll be inspired to step outside your comfort zone and try some new things in 2020.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.