WT386 – Taking on Projects Above Your Skill Level

On today’s weekend show, we’re talking about tackling projects that are too advanced for your skill level.

What Are We Talking About

How scared should I be installing my bench-crafted vises if I’m very new to woodworking? – Daniel

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4 replies on “WT386 – Taking on Projects Above Your Skill Level”

Although I have never NOT done a project because of the technical skills required I have done projects will lessor woods (pine instead of walnut for example) because of the techniques needed. Each time I have done this the project has turned out good with the exception that the I could not get the finish anywhere near what I wanted.

What I have discovered about myself is that the extra difficulty in the joinery and the pressure of not screwing up expensive lumber makes me concentrate just that little bit more and reduces the dumb mistake that I make when I get too casual and donโ€™t pay attention to what I am doing.

Thanks for all the great advice.
I love the shows, listen to them driving from Prescott to PHX.

In response to taking on a project “above your skill level” –

For me, I think the “fear” if you wanted to call it that, lies in a lack of knowledge more than a lack of skill.

I started building a TV stand (long, low, and modern, with 2 drawers) before I even had a full compliment of tools. I have plenty of problems, plenty of things that I wish were different, and plenty of things that I don’t know how to fix, or didn’t know how to at the time. Something as simple as trying to fix a split board can scare people, because they may not know or understand you can just glue and sand that beast, and you’ll likely be the only one who ever even notices. I have a drawer opening that is slightly wider at the front than the back, and haven’t found a good solution to fix it yet, the problem is I need one of those “board stretchers” that are all the rage these days – so I can stretch the front 6 inches of the board by 1/8″ ๐Ÿ™‚

Love the show, I had chimed in on Matt’s WI road trip, always nice to have a ‘celebrity’ come to my neck of the woods ๐Ÿ˜€

Just tackled a project that had me anxious throughout the entire build. I constructed the Kevin Rodel/Stickley A&C bed. This included stringing, inlays, carving and fuming, all skills I had never attempted before. I am pleased with the results. I studied as much on-line information and You Tube videos as I could find, including Marc’s excellent vid on fuming. I really found the self-education, feeling of accomplishment and gratification to be totally uplifting. It will give me a lot of confidence going forward. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/322329
Jerry (JerinCrik)

Hey guys, Love the show. I recently scored a coffee table sized walnut slab at a flea market that I couldn’t resist purchasing. While I am a fairly knowledgeable DIYer, my fine woodworking skills have a lot of room to grow. The coffee table had a large crack that needed to be fixed, so I decided to try my hand at butterfly keys. I also used Matt’s tip to leave in the last layer of bark to give that dramatic effect (thanks Matt! Queue Mark’s joke about hating Matt and Shannon laughing). Since the table top has a lot of bling with the butterflies and the bark treatment, I decided simple round tapered legs would look clean and elegant, which meant angled mortise and tenon joinery…yet another thing I’ve never attempted. This project is not without it’s flaws, however I’ve had to step outside my comfort zone repeatedly throughout the process which has not only increased my skills, but my confidence in what is within my ability as well. Bonus points, my wife thinks all of the time I was holed up in my shop was worth it. Score! Anyway, thanks for all of the fun, your podcasts make my commute seem less like a commute.

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