At the risk of sounding too self-indulgent, I thought I'd get a jump start on everybody else and write out my resolutions for 2011. Looking at it, I think it reflects my hopes for the future, a recognition of my woodworking shortcomings, and an account of the things I hope to improve upon . . .
1. Any blog posts will come with the implied "This is just the way I do it -- and you may have a better way." There are so many great artisans that I would never want to think that I have the best methods or results. In fact, I hope you are not shy in sharing your own best practices through this blog.
2. Now that I have a pair of over-the-reading-glasses safety glasses that fit, I will have them on whenever I use any power tool -- that includes the drill press and the router table. Plus, I secretly think they make me look like Sam Maloof (or Buddy Holly, or Brains from The Thunderbirds, or Rockin Mel Slirrurp.)
3. I will get a hot hide glue set-up. I used it once and I thought it was fiddley and that it smelled bad. Now, I am fiddley and I smell bad, so we should get along.
4. I will pay tribute to the spirit of Woodwork magazine. I love all the unpretentious, mad-monk, woodworkers who just make it happen. I love the way each issue seemed to be a labour of love for the (no doubt) overworked editor who made it all happen. It is sorely missed.
5. I will make sure that I can sharpen every tool in my shop. This sounds pretty elemental, but it is not universal in my shop. Obviously, I have the basic chisels and planes down, as well as my turning tools. But my draw knife is simply functional -- hook knife, forget about it. Scrapers, pretty good. Moulding planes -- I don't know where to start.
6. I will learn to French polish. When I lived in the UK, I trained to be a pastry chef while there was a French polishing school ten miles away. Where was my head?
7. I will bring in a couple of guest bloggers to keep things interesting or, at the very least, interview the woodworking stars who live right around me. I see this blogosphere stuff as a virtual Guild. I think we can create even more if we work together.
8. The chop saw will be banished to the garage. Sitting in my shop it is both a nuisance and a symbol of a different stage in my work. It, will not be missed.
9. I will take another chairmaking or turning class. I have some world class people within a couple of hours of my shop. If I want to take it to the next level, I must invest the time and money in our craft instead of always just stumbling around my own little burrow.
10. I will thank my wife more often for understanding that abandoning my old career to focus on our daughters, my furniture-making, and our property was the way to go. She has made it happen and my daughters make me want to be better every day. You guys are the one thing that can't be improved.
As a side note, I've deemed 2011 "The Year of the Chair" -- Shaker chairs, Stickley chairs, Windsor chairs, contemporary chairs. And that's where I'll start with my first project of 2011.
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