Wood has always been in my life. My old man did it for a living.
I always remember the sawdust in his pockets, and even when he got home, the forgotten pencil lodged behind his ear.
He also had a massive moustache.
It feels very strange when I stop to think. Apart from the tash, my pockets are now full of dust and I’m always finding pencils stashed in my hair.
Woodwork was not a choice for me, more like the only option. On the run up from leaving school I dreaded the day I’d have to start working with my old man.
I’d spent my life watching the struggles of a woodworker. But that’s what you do when you’re not an academic, you follow your old man.
I’ll share those tales one day, those days working with old man John. I could write a book on it.
Everything was memorable, not always in a good way…
The truth is I hated it.
I thought he was old fashioned. I thought I could do it better and faster with modern methods.
But as soon as I went on my own (a tad earlier than I should have I might add), I realised he had it right the whole time.
Since I’m not writing a sodding autobiography, I should probably get to the point.
I never really got a kick out of finishing a job.
I have one of those minds where I know I could always have done a smidge better.
And I’m the first to admit I’m lazy, so I’ve never been drawn to the hard graft that comes with making a living with hand tools.
So what on Earth is it about woodworking that gives me that kick?
To begin it was the focus. My mind shuts off completely to the outside world. All I focus on is the exact job at hand.
Shaving after shaving. Hour after hour.
I’m a slow starter but after a few pots of tea I’m ready to give it the beans, then before you know it it’s the early hours of the morning.
It’s this deep meditative-like, focused state that I get from it.
Strangely though, I don’t really get that these days.
But I do get a different kind of kick.
Since most of what I do now is for making videos, I put a lot more thought in to each process, rather than just going at it willy nilly.
I love trying to simplify right old sod’s of jobs, so that people armed with just a bit of will, could do it too. I like analysing my own processes trying to make sense of them.
The best part for me though is the freedom to continue learning myself.
I’m now researching a lot more on furniture, something I’ve never really had time to think about. And I suppose putting the focus on to building for a builder, not a buyer, if that makes any sense.
I would love to say that the best part is seeing the response and success that so many of you have, but the truth is I still can’t face the fact that so many people give us their time of day.
When I’m filming I’m talking to a couple of people, maybe someone who’s asked a question in the comments.
That’s how I get through it. If I saw the bigger picture I’d be running for the hills!
So I thought I’d put the question out there… What is it about working with wood that makes you tick??