Become a mentor

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Over most of my woodworking career, I have split my time between working with wood and writing about working with wood.

Most of my writing has been targeted at the DIY market. There have always been a large number of people who take satisfaction from making something for their homes: a coffee table, cabinets or even their own houses. Many of these people are complete novices and both need and appreciate professional guidance.

One thing I have noticed is that interest in DIY becomes much more active during times of economic hardship. The one exception was during the 1980's when there was a resurgence of interest in woodworking and people had plenty of discretionary money. A lot of the people I knew during that period had better equipment in their garage shops than I had in my professional shop. But typically people become interested in providing for themselves when it becomes difficult to pay someone else to do it for them.

My brother-in-law recently took a class somewhere in San Francisco to learn how to make kitchen cabinets and he is currently in the process of doing so in his garage. That got me thinking again about the opportunities that exist for those who possess the needed knowledge and skills to assist others in making things for themselves.

2011 was about the worst economic year in memory for just about everyone. 2012 may not be much better. This might be a great time to start looking at ideas like teaching people how to build their own furniture or cabinets. People might be happy to pay a skilled craftsman to function in the role of mentor and that could provide enough income to keep our own doors open.

D.D.

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