Sawdust and shavings in my basement workshop

By Jeff

I love wood!  I really do.  I love the look of it, the feel of it, the smell of it, sound of it…okay, I even like the taste of it  (I have walnuts and maple syrup with my oatmeal, doesn’t that count?).  But what I love even more than wood is sawdust.  Because, sawdust is the evidence that I’ve been working with wood and when I’ve been working with wood…well, that means I’m happy.

A few years ago, I discovered the joys of woodworking.  It’s a great hobby that has helped me relax in the evenings and it’s even made me a little money.  Probably my favorite part about working with wood is that it forces me to constantly solve problems.  I’m always trying to imagine “how am I going to get from point A) to point B)” or “now that I’ve totally messed up point C) how do I get back to point A) without messing up point B).”  Luckily, wood has a way of forgiving the wood worker (actually, I should say, nice tools and some strong glue help cover up many mistakes).

Speaking of tools, well, I love those too.  My basement is full of woodworking tools that I never thought I’d ever own, let alone use with a certain amount of confidence.  I have to say, that my level of confidence was elevated for two reasons:  1) of course, experience with the tools and 2) knowledge of how the tools work (and don’t work).  That second reason pretty much came from the books I checked out of the public library.

There is so much information at the library for the beginning woodworker (there’s plenty for the advanced woodworker too!).  I learned about woods with this book; I learned to use my bandsaw from this book; I learned all about routers from this book; information on how to use my table saw safely was found here;  and most of the ideas for creating my own jigs came from this chestnut.  Let’s just say that I enjoy browsing the 670’s and 680’s when I’m in the stacks of the library.

The library also has a few magazine subscriptions that I have learned to cherish.  Fine Woodworking  is probably my favorite woodworking magazine.   It’s become so helpful, that I’ve actually subscribed to their digital edition which provides readers with all sorts of tips, tricks, tool reviews, archived articles, video content, etc.  Woodworker’s Journal is another great periodical.  Finally, I find that the Family Handyman often has really good information on tools and techniques.

Another great resource for woodworkers is the internet.  It is unbeleivable how much free content there is on the internet for the wood worker.  A podcast I’ve been listening to lately is the Wood Talk Online show, which offers so much information from professional woodworkers to the rest of us mere mortals.  The Woodwhisperer offers almost 150 videos of techniques, tips and full project builds.  While there are many forums online for the woodworker, the one I pay attention to the most is North Carolina Woodworker.

Okay, if you’re wondering what kinds of things I build, well it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise given this post from last year.  In my spare time, I  build banjos.  If you’re interested to see some of my work, you can head over to my website.

Boy, I really dread the day that woodworking stops being fun.

5 thoughts on “Sawdust!

  1. Wow, Jeff. You mentioned your wife is an artist, but I didn’t know you are one, also! The banjos on your website are beautiful! Not only the woodwork, but the designs are amazing! Well done!


  2. Gorgeous banjos, Jeff!

    How on earth did you ever learn to do this? I can see that magazines and books can help, but you have to have an almost divine gift.

    It must give you an incredible sense of satisfaction to produce something that exquisite.


  3. Thanks for the kind words Luke. Believe it, or not, I have no formal training – not one class.

    Those magazines, books and webpages really do offer the the tips, tricks, methods, techniques, etc. that a beginning woodworker needs. If I’d taken some classes, I’m sure I would have gotten to a certain level faster, but I think experiece has gotten me where I am.

    There is one section of my web site that you might have missed: Vintage DCS ( There isn’t anything devine in those early Cigar Box instruments. But without those early “experiments” offering me all the experience…well, I think you get the picture.

    Lastly, yes, an incredible sense of satisfaction, for sure. I always hate to see them go.


  4. I’m echoing the ‘wow’ comments! Your banjos are lovely!

    Also, I have lots of sawdust lining my garden paths, thanks to a woodworking husband. 🙂 He would enjoy this blog entry.


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