The Woodworm

Or to be more accurate, Woodwurm (German for worm, because woodworm was taken!)

So what is it?  A interesting site run by Martin Gerhards.  He contacted me recently to ask if he could put a link to this site from his, so I had a bit of a look around his while I was at it.

He has an interesting approach, with a comprehensive philosophy towards his woodworking, and towards the material we choose to work with which I found refreshing, and one I’m sure reflects in his woodworking.

Worth a look around, a read (and for some pages, Google Translate is a useful tool – unless you read German!)

He also has quite a collection of links to other woodworking sites out there…..


The Shed and a Philosophy on Tool Acquisition

It is a reoccurring theme with me, that the shed itself is a tool like any other contained therein.  It doesn’t even have to be a real shed – as many woodworkers have a space that is shared with the family car (or the family car is demoted to sitting in the driveway), a carport and the tools are wheeled in and out as required, or even a room in the house.  Some photos I’ve seen have woodworkers using their kitchen or other room in their flat or unit, and have to open a window when dealing with longer stock.  For some, it may be nothing more than a travelling toolbox, so wherever it is opened becomes the workshop.

What space you have, whether permanently set up or temporary, is the tool, and it allows things to be created.  All tools have their limitations – not everyone can afford a gold-plated solution, but it is what you do with the tools you have that is important, not owning the best tool there is and having it sit unused on a shelf.

I’m certainly as guilty as many with tool acquisition for the sake of having the capability of doing a task, rather than having a need to do the task so then acquiring the tool.  I remember my father did a lot of car maintenance over the years (and still does when necessary), and he has quite an impressive collection of the weird and wonderful tools needed for various jobs.  His philosophy was to buy the tool needed for that current job, as once you have it, it is available next time, and the time after that and so on.

These days it is harder – there is so much crap in the marketplace, that buying the cheapest tool isn’t necessarily the cheapest in the long run. I had a job a ways back – can’t even remember what the job actually was now (it might have actually been for the assembly of the original shed), but I needed a rivet gun. I could have bought a really cheap one for a few dollars, and it would have lasted about as long as the job was at the time (if I was lucky). Instead I opted for a design I had used while in the Navy, which was one of the scissor designs.  Cost a bit at the time, and it may have seemed a bit excessive too, but I knew it did the job well, and it would last. I am still using that riveter, and it is as good as new, as well as making that particular job a breeze.

I’m not exactly sure where I am going with this,  but there is an underlying philosophy there, and as hard as it is to justify the expense of good tools, it is better to own a limited range of good quality tools, and learn to use them well, than it is to have a large collection of cheap tools, and not use any of them properly.

In a recent (virtual) interview that I did for another website, one question I was asked was – if I could only have 5 tools for a year, what would they be?  I could have chosen all sorts of tools, powered or otherwise, and I could have made all sorts of items with those 5 tools (eg tablesaw, bandsaw, router table, planer, thicknesser for example), but what I ended up opting for didn’t require any electron murdering at all.  If I was limited to just 5 tools for a year, I would choose to attempt to master some of the basics of woodworking, focusing on learning more of the craft, rather than minimising the impact of an imposed tool limitation.

This goes back to a recent post – as non-professionals, we are the only woodworkers with the absolute luxury of time to continue to practice the gamut of traditional techniques, keeping those skills and techniques alive.  Perhaps we all should, at some stage in the pursuit of our passion, dedicate a year to doing the same.  I am absolutely positive our own woodworking would benefit significantly from doing so.

And if nothing else, it is a great excuse to acquire a few more tools for the shed 😉

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