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February 10, 2014
Take a deep breath and start sawing up some wood.
That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
Truth is, getting started can be the hardest part of any project;
the fear of failure can be paralyzing.
If you never begin, you’ll never fail, right?
If you never start a project-
you’ll never finish one either.
Pick up a length of hardwood.
Study the grain and allow the pattern to dictate the overall dimension of your design.
No preconceived ideas-
Start with a box.
Everyone needs another box.
Sharpen the iron and wax the sole of your favorite hand plane.
Start peeling off those shavings;
watching the surface fall and then flatten.
Before too long, it’s square on six sides and you’re ready for another step in the process.
Joinery may be an aesthetic decision.
It could also be structural, subtle and sensible.
Don’t loose any sleep over it.
Wipe some finish on there.
Nothing too fancy, maybe just some oil and wax.
Allow the project to unfold, as it unfolds.
This afternoon, tonight or tomorrow,
do me a favor-
take a deep breath and get started.
If you never get started, you’ll never finish.
Be brave. Go and build something.
I’ve started Tom, I’ve built many clocks in my life time but never furniture and since I no longer build clocks full time anymore I’ve resolved to build everything I can mustre. My goal is period furniture. My first build was a 3 door cabinet and the second build is a copy of the LN tool cabinet and all with hand tools. The tool cabinet was a protoype unfortunately out of MDF I just couldn’t torture my hand tools anymore and resolved to use machinery. Now I’m no pro, maybe at clocks yes but furniture no so after that was done I’ve decided to start off small and work my way up. So now I’m building a small wall cabinet you could actually call it a mantle cabinet since it will stand on my daughters desk where she can put all her make up in. I used titebond liquid hide glue the bottle says 30 mins wait time I gave it 45mins and the bond broke. So now I know it’s a 24hr wait time. I can say I mucked this one up but I’m going to build another one and hopefully this time get it right. When I finish them I will start on your tool box I don’t believe it will be easy as the plans are not very descriptive but I will follow the book and watch those videos again and again till I fully understand what steps I need to take.
Just to be clear, fear of failure is not an option. If anything i’ve started too many projects, and work(you know, that stuff I get paid for) has to come first. Still requires working with wood but there’s much less joinery. And, quite frankly, it’s not a matter of ‘starting a project’, it’s Getting My Fix. From the first moment I put plane to board and sliced off a shaving I was hooked. As it is I have to work to suppress the occasional giggle. It interferes with one’s precision.
By the way, you’ve been a good source of inspiration for having a Hand tool heavy shop. Have to give Roy and Chris some credit too but your work has a modern element that’s most helpful. And yes, i’ve been having a good look at those blades from Bad Axe…
Awesome post Tom!
Get started and keep at it… That is my problem some time, the keep at it attitude. It is easy to get started, it is an other thing to keep the interest in… and finish the ting that got started!! So, Get started and keep at it!
Great inspiration as usual Tom, we are so lucky to a great Canadian craftsman that is welling to share its passion and philosophy with us!!
Inspirer, Tom. Thanks for your words of encouragement. In fact, once conceived and designed my next project, I see how it will grow, sawing, joining, finishing. It is a great pleasure to live with wood.
Thanks Tom for your tips. Actually, one has got to be brave and have faith in own hands and ideas. But I also think one must be prepared and study in order to work wood in the best way possible. Passion and imagination is not enough. Technique, history, knowledge and order are basilar, too. However, when one thinks to be prepared to the best of own abilities, then it is the moment to try and begin to build. One can get wrong, but the wrong makes us learn and step by step every wood enthusiast or lover can become a master of wood. But, first of all, one must love wood and wood will love us. Cheers, Giuliano, Italy.
Sorry to dredge up an old post. I am trying to get the information together to make a few smoothing planes of different width/lengths. I would love to make them from quartersawn birch, but that is very hard to come by.
what wood is your plane pictured?
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