In Techniques

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diy tableWhy do you work with wood? If you’re anything like me there are three reasons woodworking is part of your life. First for me is the thrill of construction. I simply like the process of buying lumber, marking it, cutting it, planing it and joining it. A few hours in my workshop is not only fun, but it livens up the rest of my life for hours afterwards. I call this the “workshop after-glow.” I always feel better when I’ve made something in my shop.

The second reason I love working with wood is the results it brings to my life and my family. I can build things better than I could buy in stores, better and perfectly in tune with my creative vision. Except for our kitchen chairs and a few other items, I’ve made every piece of furniture in our house. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There are some people in the world who feel the urge to buy things they see and like. Woodworkers like us are different. We’re “makers.” When we see something we like, our urge is to figure out how to build it. Buying feels like cheating to me. Do you know what I mean?

The third reason I love working with wood and owning tools has to do with time. When I make something and make it well, I’m launching that item into history. It’ll live long beyond my time, and I find myself wondering about the future. Who will use the solid cherry kitchen table top I made last year? Who will inherit the bed I made for my wife and myself, just before we got married in June 1988? Who will get the “R. Maxwell” metal stamp my great grandfather used to mark the items he made as a cabinetmaker in the early 1900s? Woodworking is at least partially about making history in your own, small way.

All this said, enjoying the thrill of woodworking has its challenges. Time is the biggest one for me. Being a father of five, a relatively new grandfather, owner of a large rural property, and a part-time farmer, time is what I’m most short of. That’s why I’ve come to learn how to make great things out of wood while also using my time efficiently. It usually comes down to design. My “Easy DIY Table” is a case in point. It’s solid, traditional, honest and yet quick to build.

I’m a stickler for solid wood, so I wanted to combine all-wood construction with a few modern conveniences to speed progress without interfering with quality. My table design also includes the use of hidden metal hardware that eliminates the need for complicated joinery, while also creating a more reliable, crack-proof table top and shelf. The results are fast to build, yet high quality. You can also easily modify my Easy Table for different purposes and situations.

I’ve spent the last 28 years teaching people how to work with wood, and the biggest advance in tools during this time has no teeth, makes no shavings and will never cut your finger. The biggest “power tool” advance in woodworking is the internet. It allows us to learn new techniques from other woodworkers in a way that was never possible before. It also allows me to come into your shop and show you all the tricks for building my Easy DIY Table. I use videos to supplement plans and photos to come as close as possible to being right in your shop as you cut, sand, join and finish.

Got the urge to make a great table? Invite me over and we can built it together. And I promise, it won’t take a lot of time!

Check out Steve Maxwell’s Easy-Build Table at Popular Woodworking University. You’ll get complete plans and video instruction. Plus, you can ask Steve questions anytime during the class.

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