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Never have I ever

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There are a lot of extremely common woodworking tasks and techniques. But some, no matter how common, are things I’ve never done.

OK, we’re not playing that famous drinking game, but “Never have I ever …”

… done spray finishing. Sure, I’ve used a rattle can on occasion just like everyone else, but I’m talking about spray guns and air compressors and the like. For one thing, spray finishing is more appropriate to production work. (Or so I’m guessing – I’ve never done it, remember?) More important, I like the tactile feedback of using a brush, and if you use a brush correctly and follow it up with proper finishing techniques you’ll get just as fine a coating as anything sprayed on. Better, really.

… completely jointed and thicknessed a board using a hand plane. Well, that’s mostly a lie – I did it once, in the first week of my first year of high school woodshop class, but I did it because that’s what Mr. Gausman was teaching that day and I had to. I did it OK, but never did it again because no one told me I had to. I disliked doing it, it took too long, and I find that machines do it really, really well in a fraction of the time, which lets me get on with the parts of a project I enjoy more. Namely, everything else.

… learned to hate sanding. I’ve noted this before, but it fits here. Nearly every woodworker I know hates sanding. I love it. As with brush finishing, it’s about as hands-on you can be with wood. It also comes at the end of a project, big or small, and it allows me to thoroughly appreciate what I’ve done almost entirely by feel. When I finish sanding, I’ve finished the project. Everything that comes after that (like the other kind of finishing) is just icing on the cake.

I could easily go on to list a couple dozen more, but you get the idea. Certain things mean more or are more important to some woodworkers than others, and I’m sure many of you feel just the opposite about the three things I just mentioned, and that’s fine. I’d be willing to bet that some of the things that “never have you ever” done are just fine for me.

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