The Woodworker cover image for April 2013Welcome

With the approximation of a wisdom acquired slowly through the years, I’ve come to realise that I don’t actually know everything, and that much of what I do or say isn’t always the best course of action. And when it comes to woodworking matters, well, the situation is even more interesting.

Play it safe
Like most of us, I tend to stick to tried and trusted methods of work and construction; it’s the human way after all. We’re biologically programmed to repeat actions that have
proved to be safe, non-life threatening and that may have also led to satisfactory outcomes. Fortunately though, in my role of woodworking journalist - and possessor of a strong natural inquisitiveness - I usually enjoy many opportunities to observe and sample novel methods of working as well as a surprising amount of new kit and materials.

Sea of change
It should be apparent to anyone who is engaged with our modern world that the last decade or so has seen an enormous improvement in engineering design and manufacture, massive advancements in technology across all fields; all culminating in ahuge wave-like surge of new products coming to market. Like a keen bather braving the sea for the first swim of the year, I try to experience as many of these as I can and have lately been very impressed - and sometimes surprised - with just what I’ve found.

Destination New
From fine tools to finishes - via machines and the odd power tool or two - I have journeyed far through a lexicon of new kit on a general quest for improved woodworking. It really is all to easy to avoid change and play it safe, but there are times when, having taken a (modest) chance on a new tool or product, the dividends can be staggeringly rewarding. With the safer odds that science and an unforgiving market have jointly bestowed, it’s no longer such a gamble when purchasing into the unknown. Lower risks mean more sales, and a universal benefit for all concerned, us especially.

Not later
I’m pleased to report that, for me, having taken the plunge a couple of times recently, jobs that were once a chore are now a delight, and previously hard-won results can now be almost gifted. I’m very glad I made some changes, and my only regrets – as usual – are I didn’t do it sooner!