Fair Woodworking

January 22, 2016

Death to clubs. Woodworking that is…

Having “sampled” three different rums in the past hour, I’ll first say that this Mount Gay rum is really not terrible stuff, and excellent primer for a rather tardy, and totally off the cuff first post of the year.

I wonder where this post will lead.

I guess I’ll give you an update on some of the stuff I’ve been working on as I think of something to write, and if nothing else, this whole thing will give me a kick in the butt to get a move on it.

The slow progression of building a rolling cart with 6 to 8 drawers is currently on the bench. This cart will one day be what my thickness planer will live on. Can’t wait till this is done as it is proving to be a real test of a number of skills I thought were well beneath me or at the very least, well within my grasp…

SMOOTHING PLANES!!! Brace yourselves, I’m going nutz on smoothing planes.

Something like nine of them.

Ya, I know. Who the hell has NINE smoothing planes?

*Cautiously raises hand*

We’ve all read what is really necessary to make an old plane into a first string smoother, and I’m looking forward to testing it out with a mess of rust hunting finds.

Oh, and photography.  I caught myself in a trap of hypocrisy that I am currently digging myself out of.

Whatever could it be?

Later this year, I think I’ll be ready to offer more hands on opinions on both the Nicholson bench and my attempt to use Moxon hardware as a twin screw vise.

That and dancing girls, all makes 2016 look like a block buster of a year here at Fairwoodworking!

But on to a more current issue.

Woodworking clubs.

I struggle to remember positive feedback about a woodworking club. I’ve mentioned how I was wrestling with the dilemma of an aging club that seems unaware of how uninviting it has become. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence of highly respected woodworkers shunned by their local club because they admitting to a fondness of shoulder planes, and then there is the apparent absence of a desire to grow as woodworkers.

Recently I vowed to hang in there at my woodworking club in hopes of getting them to come around to seeing what outsiders are not returning for.

This last week, faced with the $70 renewal fee, I felt the need to reconsider how effective my perseverance should endeavor to be.  (Bonus points for words I hardly know the meaning of.)

And after a sober (much sober..er that I am now) discussion with a good old woodworking friend of mine. We’ve decided that we may not be able to right the woodworking club ship, and best just move on…

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment while I marvel at what a great guitarist Joe Satriani is… WOW!!!

Ok, Focus!

The thing is that most clubs seem to be a get together with some guest speaker that is NOT A MEMBER, discussing something that few/none of the members will ever endeavor (loose points for using “endeavor” twice in the same post) to emulate, followed by a quick intermission of juice and cookies.

The president then thanks everyone for coming, and we all go home to watch the evening news.

At what point does the club work… How you say… Ahh.. er… wood?

Well, two former club members are hopefully getting together in a basement this weekend to do something about it. There will be no guest speaker. Cookies are doubtful, as is the juice. Not to mention rum, but there may be beer, and there will be wood.

And something sharp to cut the wood.

YES! WOOD WILL BE CUT!!! And dam it! Wood will be worked!

And if we are not careful?


BYOB (Bring Your Own Bandages)



  1. Rum and blogging is a beautiful thing.

    Comment by Brian Eve — January 23, 2016 @ 2:21 am

    • Well in reading it the morning after, it certainly isn’t Shakespeare, but I’ll go with it.

      Comment by fairwoodworking — January 23, 2016 @ 10:41 am

  2. I love it! Especially the tangents. It makes for an entertaining read.

    It’s too bad that some people look down their noses at others. I think while it is important to learn and get ideas from others, nothing will instruct better than the school of hard knocks.

    Comment by Brian Eve — January 24, 2016 @ 2:38 am

    • Why is the rum gone? This sounds good to get together and actually work wood with friends. I have to stick with virtual clubs (IG) and virtual friends.

      Comment by Jeremy — January 24, 2016 @ 10:29 am

      • Looks like we are meeting here at my place so rum is back on the table. 🙂
        Any chance you are going to WIA this year? I’d love to not meet up with you again.

        Comment by fairwoodworking — January 24, 2016 @ 12:08 pm

  3. Joe Satriani is a fine technician. If he were a woodworker he would cut the most precise dovetails faster than you could say Chippendale, but would his furniture be more than the sum of its joints? Would the wood between the joints speak to us? Would it have any soul?

    Comment by Tony B. — February 5, 2016 @ 2:52 pm

    • Almost everything Satch does speaks to me. If you’re looking for classical styles with no soul, Yngwie Malmsteen would be your woodworker.

      Comment by fairwoodworking — February 5, 2016 @ 3:54 pm

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