Master of Nothing

In the shed right now you will find two end tables being refinished, an island being built, dovetail practice, and a green wood chair. I am not a master, but I can make a whole bunch of stuff for my house and others

Lost Art Press

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One of the common criticisms I hear of North American woodworkers is that we try to do so many things – casework, carving, veneering, chairmaking, turning – that we never become good at any one of those things.

There’s truth to the criticism. When I work side-by-side with traditionally trained European woodworkers, they beat the pants off me (speed-wise). German, English and Swiss joiners can cut dovetails and assemble casework much faster than I can.

I do get a small measure of revenge when I pick up a turning tool without a second thought to make a leg or knob. Most of them have never touched a lathe, worked with green timber, dealt with compound-angle wet/dry chair joints or carved even a simple detail.

Maybe it’s the frontier blood in our veins or the fact that our society never embraced the European apprentice system for woodworking. There was just too…

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