The Woodworker cover image for March 2015Welcome

The other day I had to make a couple of simple casement window sashes and, thinking about the job the night before, I couldn’t remember if I had enough timber in stock to make a ready start or if an early morning trip to the timber yard would be necessary first. Now I always enjoy a visit to my local merchant. They’re down by the docks near my workshop, and there’s often a boat or two chugging past or some other pleasing nautical business going on; fishermen sorting out their nets against a moving backdrop of forklifts piled with boxes of fish, that sort of thing. All very nice, and just part of the fun that some people call work.

Bright start

The morning dawned bright and clear, and it was with mixed feelings that I discovered a couple of lengths of joinery-grade softwood in my ‘assortments’ stack and hauled them out to make a start. I briefly considered heading down to the docks to buy some hardwood, but a combination of a low-budget job and the desire to get started convinced me to stay in the workshop. It was during the milling process, cutting and thicknessing my timber, that I felt The Feeling – familiar to all woodworkers – the feeling of joy and absolute pleasure in the working of this most rewarding of materials. Sustained for the whole day long, the job went (fairly) smoothly and it was with a considerable degree of satisfaction that I locked up that evening with a brace of rebated frames glued up and in cramps.

Take it easier

Lucky me, I say, and to think that I (mostly) get paid to do it too! Perhaps an attitude change has been responsible… Lately, instead of tearing into the work like some industrious whirlwind, I work at whichever pace suits me that day. I find this makes for a much better job, and for a lot less worry and stress too. Customers no longer browbeat me into barely achievable deadlines. When asked the other day ‘how long will the fitting take?’ I found myself answering – and truthfully – that I actually didn’t know. This was a good sign to me, and an indicator of a relatively worry-free site visit. And so it proved to be; apart from the dry sauna-like conditions and a close shave with some hidden cables, the job went very well and everyone concerned finished each day with a smile. So, whether you’re old or young, novice or vastly experienced, don’t forget just how lucky you are to be in this business: the joyful business of working with wood.