The Amateur and the Artisan

I read a comment recently by Steve Voorheis.

It resonated with me, and I felt both the truth of the statement, and some guilt at the same time, that perhaps I am letting the side down somewhat as it were.

The statement was brief, and in essence stated that it is up to the amateur woodworkers to keep the true woodworking skills and techniques alive (such as handcutting dovetails, and the whole gamut of old methods), as the professional woodworkers have no time to do so.

Gives you an added sense of responsibility, to not only learn the techniques, but to also continue to use them – those of us to whom time spent on a particular project is irrelevant – it is the journey, rather than how fast you can arrive at the finished product that is the real reward.

2 Responses

  1. Very thought-provoking Stu. I know when I went pro, I was disappointed because I was doing the same things over and over, and trying to find faster and easier ways to do them. Now that I am woodworking primarily for the videos, my actual shop time has decreased, but the quality of that time has gone way up, because I have the opportunity to focus on numerous tools/techniques. So I am woodworking more like a hobbyist at this point. And frankly, that’s just a lot more fun! Great post man!


  2. A very true statement. I’m very much an amateur woodworker who is in the process of moving from Canada to Australia and decided to liquidate my power tool collection instead of shipping it. And yes, it did hurt, but upon reflection, I decided to spend the proceeds on upgrading my hand tools. The joy I’ve recently gotten from a well hand cut dovetail or a mortise and tenon has tempered that pain, plus I’ve found that the accuracy needed for the hand tool work has translated into more accurate work on the power tools.

    Should I ever get privilege to earn my living working with wood, financially I hope to be able to be busy enough to make this statement true, but purest enough to be able to pass on these essential skills.

    Thanks for the great site, I don’t know how you find the time.


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