The Joy of Woodworking – Out On a Limb
By Andrew Zoellner, Editor
Popular Woodworking, June 2018
Earlier this year, I took the reins of Popular Woodworking. To be perfectly honest, it’s been a little nuts. How did I get here?
The short story is that I’ve been a writer and editor in the DIY/woodworking/craft magazine world for the last decade. When the opportunity arose to help shape the future of a publication I’ve long admired, I jumped at it.
I caught the woodworking bug in college and got my first post-journalism school job at American Woodworker. It was there that it really struck me: Making stuff is how I want to spend my time. I’ve built furniture, made speaker cabinets, tried my hand at welding, hacked together stuff out of leather and geeked out over more handmade work than I care to admit. And I’ve loved every minute of it.
I believe, quite frankly, that making things with your hands is incredibly important. It’s part of a truly fulfilled human experience. I’ve made some really ugly yet functional things; I’ve made some beautiful things. My life is better because I’ve made both.
Wood is such an approachable material – it surrounds us. And yet, for some reason, woodworking seems out of reach for many people. We need to change that.
To the non-woodworker, power tools can be dangerous and expensive. Chisels and planes take knowledge, skill and time to use effectively (not to mention keeping them sharp). The lumber at the home center can be a nightmare to use if you’re not careful. There’s a lot of discouragement for would-be woodworkers.
Thankfully, this also presents a lot of opportunity. We’re here to inspire people to make more of the stuff they have in their lives and to learn the virtues of craft.
So what do we do? For starters, if you’re reading this, you’re already part of the solution. Keep making what you’re making and sharing it with those around you. Support your local lumberyards, makerspaces and craft fairs. Don’t be shy about sharing why you woodwork, alongside the how-to.
Even better, help others build the things they want to include in their lives. Be generous with your tools and expertise. It really can be as simple as a tree branch and a pocket knife – before you know it, you have a spoon!
Don’t trick yourself into thinking your tools and materials are more precious than they really are. It’s what you do with them that counts. And remember, who you share your tools with counts just as much, too.
P.S. Want to tell me what you think of this issue or anything else? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchase the June 2018 issue of Popular Woodworking here.