It was almost Christmas, my wife mentioned that she needed a bookcase to organize a basket full of loose books in the living room. I had some time and some wood laying around, so I began to build. The wood was left over from previous woodworking projects, so just a random assortment. We’re not talking 2×8 rough-cut planks here, we’re talking small 3/4″ square-dowel-like pieces for the legs mixed with some 1/4″ thick by 4″ to 6″ wide boards tying them together, and luckily I had a short 1×10 plank for actual shelves (and some dowels for the bottom).
There’s no wood-shop by the way, just the floor in my office. I usually pick-up wood at Lowes since they have an aisle full of “appearance quality” wood with various sizes to choose from.
I actually had a pretty frustrating time assembling the shelf, although I was somewhat pleased with the final product considering the limitations of materials I had to work with. I was so frustrated in fact, that I had the feeling I was DONE with woodworking after this project, that it just wasn’t for me. And, I was ready to give up on tools in general. But after the bookcase was completed, I started thinking about how things went so poorly because I didn’t have the right tools for the job.
Then a revelation: I didn’t need less tools, I needed MORE tools!! Of course! As someone that grew up watching This Old House, The New Yankee Workshop, The Woodwright’s Shop, and as someone that wanders tool aisles with candy-store caliber delight, I couldn’t give up on tools. And so, I resolved to make this upcoming year, a year of woodworking.
I’m still a small-project kinda guy, so no power tools beyond a cordless drill (although sometimes I even opt to use my Stanley hand-powered-drill instead). For cutting I use Japanese pull-saws — so quiet and quick. I had the idea that I should bootstrap my woodworking by selling completed pieces on Etsy in order to pay for more tools and wood. But since it was Christmas, I received some cash-presents from family and used that instead. I still have to commercialize in some form to keep it rolling, I think — well we’ll see.
I’m writing right now because I’m waiting for some tools to arrive today. This is my latest piece, a shelf.