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Back to the basics

It is amazing how many people engage in an undertaking without first acquiring the basic skills needed to succeed.

I use the word “acquiring” instead of “learning” for a reason. There are several things needed to succeed in any endeavor.

One is knowledge. Knowledge can be learned. You can read or take a class and learn what you need to know. The other is skills, acquired mostly through practice. You can be shown the correct way to sharpen a chisel. But that does not mean you can just go and do it. The first time out, you may experience complete failure. But if you stick with it, you begin to get a feel for how the blade moves over the stone when it is properly presented.

The same holds true for business. You may be a great woodworker, even an artist. But without the basic business skills, you will end up bashing around a lot before you start to get a handle on it.

As with anything else, you can gain the knowledge you need without too much trouble. But it may take a while to acquire the skills that go along with it. Things like leadership, marketing and communication often require practice to master. Understanding the need for these skills right at the outset can save years of frustration.


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Back to basics

Technology has been creeping into how we do business for a long time now. Obviously, CNC machines have taken on an increasing role in cutting, milling, shaping, carving, etc. And hand-held tools like routers and sanders are a lot smarter than used to be.

Lacking the basics

I came across an interesting question the other day. The poster said he had no woodworking experience but wanted suggestions about what tools were needed to build a project he had in mind.

Basic skills

In my junior high shop class, the instructor insisted that we begin by planing the edge of a board. The edge had to be straight and square. I spent most of the semester trying to accomplish this.

Do we still need basic skills?

These days, a prospective employee is more likely to be asked about his knowledge of computers than about how well he can produce a smooth surface with a hand plane.

Watch your back

In a line in one of his early songs Bob Dylan wrote, “Don’t think twice, it’s alright”. Whatever he was referring to, it was not doing business in today’s climate.