The Woodworker cover image for July 2015Welcome

What makes a woodworker?
This is one of those philosophical questions that drift in and out of one’s mind from time to time, and is occasionally brought into focus. The answers are never really fully formed, but seem to be periodically added to and built upon as time goes by and experiences and observations make themselves known. Certainly a spot of creativity is a must; an appreciation of hard work and its fulsome rewards is pretty useful too. Often it’s simply a specific need like a chair that has to be fixed or a cupboard to be made.

Simple seduction
Just working with the wonderful material that is timber is sometimes enough. I’ve often watched demonstrations at shows where the joy of taking up a new piece and quickly shaping it is unmissable in the craftsperson’s every keen and enthusiastic movement, and the finished item is almost incidental. Often woodworkers come to the craft from another discipline when they’ve had to make a model (or a jig or a former or something), and they’ve been captured by the silky charms of some smooth-grained timber just like the rest of us.

Reasons to make things
Once you’ve been bitten by the bug, it’s very hard to stop. Projects are started at the drop of a hat, and often for the simple reason that the maker ‘just fancied it’. This counts as true art in my book, and I heartily congratulate every reader who has recently made – or is in the process of making – something completely unnecessary just because they wanted to. I’d like to add a small note to partners, friends and relations here; your tolerance and encouragement is greatly appreciated. If you know your woodworker well, you will probably recognize that unstoppable drive. Instead of trying to ignore it, why not just put in an order for something you’d really like? Don’t worry if it seems a bit ambitious; your woodworker will thrive on the challenge!

Warr in peace
This afternoon I sadly learned that my favourite woodworker, Gordon Warr, has just passed away at the age of 86. Speaking to his son David, I found myself answering my own question. He was The Woodworker’s woodworker, and contributed to the magazine – and to the fund of woodworking knowledge – for over 50 years. He was working on projects and reviews right up to the end. Gordon encapsulated all of the positives mentioned above. He was a humble man who loved his craft and wanted to share it with as many people as he could. I think he probably succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, and he will be sorely missed by all who knew (or knew of) him. We’ll be publishing a memorial article about him in our next issue, but I strongly suspect he’d rather we just reprinted one of his many helpful technical guides instead. Thank you Gordon; you brightened all our lives.

Mark Cass, Editor