Thursday, June 9, 2011

Does Teaching Help?

Hi there PORC fans

Another good couple weeks in the trenches.  I've got several fun projects in the works and thought I'd share a few of the details with you.  I've also been handed a great opportunity to challenge myself as an instructor. 

Keep on reading for the full report.

I'd had a fun week fabricating the final pieces of cabinetry for the condo job that's dominated this site for a bit.  We ended up with an amazing design that fully utilized every possible inch of space available.  The cabinet incorporates a finished tile wall on both side to essentially make the cabinet look built into the tile, but also has a weight and feel that makes it unique and independent of its surroundings.  Sadly, I get very little credit for the design.  The client schooled me on this one.  We also added a neat little glass inset on the countertop that was fun to fabricate.

An early version

The inset glass top, plus one of three mechanical cutouts.
I am also happy to report a positive response from my clients that I made the bench mock up for.  They loved it, and we're moving forward with the two final stools, and island table.

I've got a large farm table in the works, a murphy bed unit that will likely push me towards using a few new materials, some commercial bent laminate desks and lots and lots of bathroom, kitchen, and closet cabinets to keep me out of too much trouble.

Closet carcass

Single sink vanity

Architectural plans for a new office.

Reception desk, with one heck of a unique color.

For all the people that know me well, all say that my tendency towards self deprecation can be a bit 'evident'.  I'm always pushing myself to improve my skills, and continue to grow as a person.  I also try not to get too cocky and self absorbed.  (Something I am slowly learning in my 'old age.')  The result is frequently doubting my own abilities and questioning what I do.  It's a bit of a double edge sword.  Push yourself to improve, but don't push yourself down at the same time.

Well, you can imagine my surprise when I was approached to work with and help a friend on a project.  And not just one, but 4 different people have approached me in the last 3 months to work together.  The self deprecating pessimist in me is certain that the real reason people want my help is because I always have a stocked fridge of good micro-brews, or because I have more tools than them and a place to store their half completed projects.  It's been quite an accomplishment to accept that someone in the world may in fact like to hear what I have to say and offer.

I've decided this is a great way for me to grow as both a craftsman, and as a person.  I came from a family where one of my two amazing parents was a music teacher.  He was as good at doing his job playing an instrument as he was at teaching it to others.  If I am able to teach someone about what I do, I will also improve my abilities to produce a finished product.

I am excited to see what I learn over the next couple months.  I am hoping to explain some basics about Sketch-up.  I may show someone my quirky tendencies while using a jigsaw.  I also welcome the opportunity to learn something from the person I'm working with.  Maybe it's about woodworking, maybe it's about astrophysics.  I don't know what yet, but I plan to find out.

Is there a topic that would be interesting to you?  Design, remodeling, tools, budgeting, photographing wood stuff???  I'll give it my best to help shed some light on the subject.  What would you like to see come from this blog.  One thing is for sure, I won't shy away from lots of pictures, long winded rants, and over-usage of the comma.  Once that sentence is started, let it run on, and on, and on, and on.

As always, thanks for reading and chiming in with your thoughts in the comment section below!


  1. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity, looking forward to the day we get to collaborate on something!

  2. I taught at a local college during nights. It was so fullfilling. You cannot make someone a woodworker, you must help them believe in themselves and they will succeed.

  3. I had a brief opportunity to teach a friend the basics of woodworking and while that did not pan out, it was rewarding just thinking about it. As Ken said, I think most people just need to gain more confidence and get organized on how to proceed. Good post.

  4. @jess, I think that sound wonderful! I do see an mantle in our future. Thanks for chiming in!

  5. @Ken, Welcome to the blog, and thanks for taking to time to offer a bit of incite. I completely agree with you. I do believe that anybody can learn just about anything if they have a good support structure in place and teachers that inspire them to excel. Thanks again!

  6. @Jeff, am happy to hear that you've "been there, done that." I bet your a great teacher. Getting organized is really one of the key things that can be really helpful for someone starting out. I still remember making my first bench with my father in-law. Before we ever stepped foot in the shop he wanted to know my plan for the bench, see some drawings and my plan for making it all happen. It was a lesson I will never forget.

    Thanks as always for chiming in.