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When is not woodworking, really woodworking?

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If you're reading David DeCristoforo's blogs (and you should be), then you already know that the title of my blog is a play on his current entry. I'll essentially ask the same question he did, but I'm going to turn it around.

David asked if he can still consider it woodworking if he's not doing his regular work. His example cited fixing a broken fence to pay the bills instead of doing the cabinetry or furniture he so enjoys. His conclusion was that since he was still working with wood, that he was indeed woodworking. Fair enough. But what if you don't go into the shop or use your tools? For that matter, what if you don't go anywhere near a piece of wood, can it still be woodworking?

Like David, I'm also a woodworker. But David considers himself primarily a woodworker, who also happens to be a pretty good woodworking writer. In turn, I consider myself primarily a woodworking writer, who also happens to be a pretty good woodworker. So, when I'm writing – or when I'm doing work associated with my writing – can it still be woodworking?

Take, for example, three of the tasks I have on my plate today. One is writing a series of descriptions of shop projects for a magazine article. The second is drafting an exploded drawing of a table I've designed and built, which will go to the illustrator of my current book project. And the third task is using Photoshop to crop and edit photos of that table, which will also be published in my book.

Strictly following the guidelines of David's example, since I'm not working directly with wood then I'm not woodworking.

But since when have I ever followed guidelines?

The way I see it, everything I'm doing revolves around wood, with the majority of it directly related to things I've enjoyed designing and building in my woodshop. Therefore, it is indeed still woodworking. But when looked at literally, the things I'm doing today are simply work, which pays the bills, as opposed to what I really enjoy, which is making sawdust.

And when it comes to defining the word "woodworking," I think that's the real difference

Till next time,


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