Months ago I embarked on a new project – my first major woodworking project, complete with exotic hardwoods, joinery, and inlays. Starting with raw mahogany boards, I’ve come to this picture (left)…Several times during the process I found myself stopping in frustration as I took rough lumber, resawed it down to board size, planed it, joined it, and fit pieces together. Cutting moldings, fluting, routing, and sanding…it’s a big deal. There are no nails in this type of building – it’s precise, cumbersome, artistic, and difficult. How did I get here? Mentors and reading.
Woodworking is a skill. There are so many tricks and techniques to building jigs, joining wood, and just making things work; it’s something you could go to school for I guess, but the best way is to work alongside someone who really knows – someone with experience. The master craftsman and the apprentice. With our focus on schools and universities, we’ve lost a lot of this, but for thousands of years, this has proved out to be the most efficient way to learn and grow. Co-op programs, apprenticeships, interns…business coaching; it’s all mentorship. It’s finding someone who has been there, or has hands-on experience, who is able to take the time to walk another person through the process. Whether you’re building, writing, drawing, parenting, or building a business – find experts to learn from. Some are paid, others are free, but in the long run, the investments you make will return to far more than you can imagine.
© 2011, David Stelzl