Having written and edited hundred of pages of workshop and home improvement material, Ive been fortunate to have met and worked with real woodworkers: people who could dovetail a drawer (by hand) in five minutes, plane wispy shavings off the gnarliest woodone guy could even identify wood by taste. If these folks were to cut themselves (mind you, it would never happen in the shop), youd discover that sap, not blood, flows through their veins. Ill be the first to admit that Im not one of them . . . yet.
If theyre what youd consider woodworkers, then Im just a guy who enjoys making things from wood. My shop is far from dreamy; you cant tell by the photos, but Im sharing space with a car, lawnmower, and miscellaneous garden equipment. My home is becoming filled with some nice pieces, but Im certainly not at the point where Im ready to quit my day job. Woodworking is a passion, not the passion, of my life. And for now, Im happy to keep it that way.
With that difference in mind, Ive geared this book for real people: readers who enjoy making sawdust, but still want (or need) time to mow the lawn, go to their kids soccer game, or paint the house. To them, the dream shop is still a dream. Woodworking involves a combination of compromises: lusting for the best tools but not wanting a second mortgage; trying to design a comfortable shop but needing to work around a car or washer and dryer; wanting to improve hand-tool and machine skills, but not willing to embark on a seven-year apprenticeship.
This book is designed to help you enjoy your time in the shop. As you work through these pages, youll learn how to work with and build on the skills and tools you already have. And when the sawdust settles, you should also have a few attractive pieces to add to your home or give to friends. My sincerest hope is that someone may look at one of your projects and say, "Wow, you made this yourself?"
My mentors might flip through these pages, but I must point out that this book isnt for them; rather, its for the other 99 percent of the woodworking world. If this book gives you the confidence to teach another up-and-coming sawdust maker, then at that point well both be real woodworkers.