There are two primary ways to learning about woodworking – from exposure and practice.  Exposure comes mostly from reading, listening, and watching.  Practice involves applying that knowledge.

When I first got interested in woodworking, I read every woodworking book and magazine available at the public library.  I attended the annual woodworking show, studied tool catalogs, examined tools at stores, joined a woodworking forum where I started posting questions and reading about others’ experiences.

With all this information bouncing around my head, what did I really know?  What did I have to show for it?  Nothing.

Then I started putting all this newly-gained knowledge to use.  Although I did not have the experience to back up my knowledge, what I did know gave me the confidence to try new techniques.

“You won’t know anything until you try it. Then you’ll learn pretty quickly.”
 Wharton Esherick

When I built Relationship Study, I faced many new challenges.  There was a lot of experimenting and I was constantly testing my abilities.  Along the way, I learned what worked and what didn’t.  When things didn’t work, I examined why.  Was it just a bad idea?  Would a different approach have been more successful?

“If I don’t ask myself what the hell I’m doing at least once a day, I’m not pushing myself hard enough.”
– Chris Wong

As I progressed, I gained experience and confidence.  Of course, there were always barriers to progress.  Sometimes conquering those barriers required new skills, tools or materials but most often, I found it was mental, requiring me to let go of what I thought I knew or find another approach.

“Recognize and accept your limitations, so you can move beyond them.”
– Vic Hubbard

Reading, watching, and talking about woodworking has been extremely useful to open my eyes to what is possible, but I have learned the most from hands-on experience.  There is no equal or substitute.

“Years teach us more than books.”
– Berthold Aeurbach

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