This week I listened to an Modern Woodworking Association podcast. This particular podcast was where a couple of MWA guys interviewed lots of presenters and attendees at Popular Woodworking's Woodworking in America last year. Every interview was the same in that each person was asked the same set of questions. Of course, each interview was different in the answers (you should definitely listen to Roy's interview - funny!).
One question was "Who has been most inspirational in your woodworking?". Many of the answers were "my Dad" or "my Father".
My Dad was inspirational to me too. He did a few woodworking projects while I was growing up but that isn't really what inspired me. The furniture he built was mostly plywood and not very stylish but it was very functional. I did similar projects in my early beginnings too including boxes, storage cabinets for our garage and such. What really inspired me about my Dad was the fact that he would work 5 or 6 days a week and 10 or more hours each day yet he would come home and make time to relax working in his garage shop. Even more inspiring though was that he was probably looking for some down time and wanted to be alone but I'd come along and pester him with so many questions. He'd answer each one patiently - sometimes stopping what he was doing to show me something. As I got older, he'd ask me to help. This wasn't all the time but these are some of the strongest memories of my Dad while I was growing up.
While my Dad started me down the path, I can also give different answers. I consider myself primarily a hand tool woodworker though in truth, I'm a bit of a hybrid.
ASIDE: Marc Spagnola calls himself a hybrid yet when he defines it, he uses machines for most tasks and has just a few tasks (often the finicky bits like fitting joints together) where hand tools come in to play. When I define hybrid, I like machines for a few of the most tedious tasks like ripping on a band saw or thicknessing a board with a thickness planer but the rest is by hand tools. Does that mean one of us is wrong? No, we are both right but on different sides of the scale.
On my path to using hand tools, the first person who inspired me was Chris Schwarz. He was in the midst of his own journey which eventually evolved into the Anarchist Toolchest. I have never met him but he's put out so much content, I feel like I have. I have watched many of his videos and read many of the books and articles he's been involved with. He presents everything in a manner which makes you feel like anyone can do it, and he does it with a humor I can relate to. I continue to be inspired by Chris even though all of his projects are not ones I'd build.
Another inspiration for me has been Shannon Rogers. He started the Renaissance Woodworker quite a while ago and has taken his own journey into hand tools. He clearly like hand tools in the early days of his blog and podcast but now has even started a real business with it called the Hand Tool School with his semester 5 showing how a hand tool woodworker does turning. Shannon is intelligent and presents everything in a thoughtful and well researched manner. His passion for his subjects are very infectious.
I've been doing my blog for quite a while now. While I raise my sons, I hope that I have an inspirational impact on their approach to life and maybe eventually woodworking. And as I go on writing this blog, primarily for myself, I have gained readers and I hope that there is some inspiration even if it is simply the inspiration to get into the shop for those readers. GO DO SOME WOODWORKING!