Experience, Tools and Materials

Just so we are all on the same page….

Experience:

I’m not an expert in woodworking.  I’m not an expert on tools.  I’m not an expert in any craft that I do.  I’m like most of you, learning as much as I can about being a craftsperson and working to build my skill levels.  I follow Paul Sellers and Woodworking Masterclasses to build my woodworking skills.  I prefer hand tools, but I’m not a snob about it.  I’m a member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT).  So I’ll discuss knot tying, both practical and decorative.  I draw the old fashioned way, pencil to paper but make my living with CAD.  So I’ll discuss drawing techniques and how you can get your ideas on paper.  Yes, everyone can draw.  I dabble in leather and canvas work.  So projects involving those materials will crop up as well.  The bottom line is this, I know a little bit about a lot of things.  What I hope is to pass along what I have learned, good and bad, so that you can build your skills and maybe learn something new.

Tools:

To practice any craft you need, at least, a minimum tool set.  I’ll not attempt to tell you what that tool set is.  There are far more authoritative voices out there that can guide you in the acquisition of a beginning tool set.  A good place to start is by reading here and here and here as well.  I don’t own a great many tools nor do I own any high end tools.  What tools I have are well maintained and tuned to perform.  I like to make tools when possible and I find that making your own tools is a cost effective way to expand your tool kit and practice your skills.  I also firmly believe that you can become a very skilled and effective craftsperson with with a minimum of tools.  If there is a tool that is required for a project, I’ll point you in the right direction or tell you how to make it if applicable.  Concentrate on building your skills not your tool inventory.  So I’ll discuss tools that I own and tools that I’ve made along the way.

Materials:

I try to use the most cost effective materials that I can without sacrificing quality.  In my woodworking I use pine quite a bit.  I’ll use hard wood when the project requires it or if I desire it.  What I want to demonstrate to those that read my blog is that you can build projects of quality without spending a fortune on materials.  I want everyone to consider the projects accessible and not feel limited by material cost or availability.  I try to source my materials from the home center and other locations that are easily accessible for most people.  I will also share projects that involve canvas, leather and cordage (string, twine).  When I use different materials I’ll tell you where I acquired them.  The key is I want everyone to feel that they can build my projects and are not limited because I used a material that is too expensive or too difficult to locate.

Summary:

So why did I start a blog?  There are literally millions of blogs on the internet already and more are added every minute.  I’m not an expert at anything so there are more authoritative voices out there on all of the subjects that I am likely to discuss.  My hope is that I can represent the middle ground and give people who read my blog the feeling that they can do these things I discuss and begin or continue to create with their own two hands.  I’m just an average guy.  If I can do it, so can you.

Greg Merritt

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2 Responses to Experience, Tools and Materials

  1. Andy in Germany says:

    Look forward to future posts. I started learning knots a while back in exasperation after trying to make things stay on my cargo carrying bike. I know a handful of knots now and I’m working on learning more as time permits.

    I’m also trying to work on hand tool projects based on Peter Sellers’ videos. I’m also working through an apprenticeship as a carpenter which I should finish in September 2015.

    By the way, if you work using CAD, do you have any experience of Pointline? We have to use it in college and I’m not getting on with it at all…

    • gman3555 says:

      Knot tying is coming up pretty soon. I really enjoy learning and tying knots. Hopefully I can share some new ones for you.
      Most of my CAD work has been with AutoCAD and some work with Microstation. Also a little with Solid Works, but I have not used Pointline.

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