Baby Steps into Woodworking
Working wood is a labor of love for me. I admire the trees that provide this unique and ever-changing resource. I love the tools that allow us to shape lumber into objects of beauty and use. I revere the books that teach us how to make good use of the raw materials and tools. I am excited to learn about the history of furniture making and to see exciting developments in the field of design and art in wood. I believe that woodworking can be a great contributor to the successful development and overall wellness of human beings, from small children to retirees.
Woodworking captured my attention some 20 years ago while in Architecture school and, ever since then, I have been involved with making, teaching and writing about it. My first shop was on the balcony of my family’s two-bedroom apartment and my first bench was an old door that I screwed over my childhood desk. Hence, I believe that there is no such thing as too small of a space or budget to legitimately impede someone who is passionate about woodworking.
This blog is a relaunch of my American Woodworker (AW) blog, which I began writing five years ago. Now, with the integration of AW with Popular Woodworking Magazine, I have the opportunity to resume contributing. I will show my own work, my students’ work, I will talk about my studio, my tools, about jigs and techniques, about woodworking in small spaces – practically about everything that interests me – and hopefully you.
I am writing this as my three-month old baby, Asher, is lying on my stomach for his “tummy time.” By no choice of his own, he is my first reader, and hopefully will be my youngest student as he continues to mature. I swear I want him to find his own passions as he grows up. But, until then…
To lure Asher into woodworking, I introduced him to the Fisher Price “Laugh And Learn Learning Workbench.” What I quickly realized is that this is more than a workbench – it is a whole learning station where buttons light up and music is played to at the push of a button, or at the twist of a vise handle. Even the benchtop drill press has some tricks up its sleeve and it will make drilling sounds, or it will command the bench to generate some catchy rhyming songs such as:
“It’s time to work and play, It’s time to build today,
To hammer drill and turn, to laugh and sing and learn,
Lets give the pegs a pound, watch them go up and down,
We’re gonna build all day, then put our tools away .. hooray!”
The only unusual thing about this bench is the vise location – on the left. But for Asher, whom we suspect is a lefty, this is definitely an advantage.
While baby Asher receives his woodworking indoctrination via the Fisher Price bench, papa needs to make up for all the back reading that Asher has caused since he joined this world. This is why you see the November 2014 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine in the picture, as only now I have strung together enough time to read it. Which leads me to my first observation for this blog: The greatest threat to print media is babies, not the Internet and not even the blogosphere.
On my next entry I will talk about Asher’s second workbench, a German all-wood bench for toddlers.
— Yoav Liberman