The 2014 Would-be Sybarite’s Gift Guide: Day 5
Ask for a week at a woodworking school – any respected woodworking school – and take a class that includes at least a handful of other students.
There is simply no better way to quickly improve your woodworking than to learn a few techniques and approaches from someone who knows what she or he is doing. And it’s doubly nice if the instructor is willing to share his or her tools – using a tool or machine that is set up correctly and sharp makes a world of difference (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “OH! That’s what sharp is like!”).
Having other people in the class means you can learn from them, too (and they might ask questions or have problems you didn’t encounter…but might someday need to resolve). Plus, it’s great to sit around in the evenings and talk with others who are as interested in the craft as are you. (I don’t know about you, but my non-woodworking friends’ eyes glaze over when I start talking about planes and wood.)
And even if you already have all the tools in the world and the skill to use them, it’s still nice to get away for a solid week of woodworking. It’s amazing how much you can get done when “real-life” doesn’t intrude. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. Tiring, but fun.
p.s. If you’re looking for a woodworking school in your area (or in an area you want to visit), I recommend our new (free) School and Makerspace listings. (It’s a work in progress and depends on schools and makerspaces asking to be included – so if you know of any that are missing, please ask them to fill out the form; we’re happy to add!)