You Don’t Need to Know What You Are Doing

The New Furniture

Knowledge is good, but sometimes it can be blinding.  It can lead to incorrect assumptions and closed minds. Currently, I’m reading The New Furniture which addresses how technology is changing the woodworking industry.  In the book, Ken Susnjara made this comment on how his company, Thermwood, came to invent the first CNC control.

In truth, this was not part of any grand scheme.  Much of it occurred just because we didn’t know what we were doing.

– Ken Susnjara

When I haven’t been told that something can’t be done, I am more likely to try it for myself.  Even if I hear that it can’t be done, I may still test it.  I think that this attitude is exceedingly important in the world we live in today – the age of misinformation.  Learning the basics is important, but experimentation and figuring out things for yourself is the best way to learn what works and doesn’t work, as well as why.

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Where I Am, How I Got Here, And Where I Want To Be

Right now, I hold a part time job at a little Canadian company known as Lee Valley Tools.  I work as the Shipper/Receiver Mondays through Wednesdays and as an Order Picker (Salesperson) here and there when I’m needed.  I also have submitted two articles to two different Canadian magazines, both of which focus on woodworking.  Check out the pictures of my completed projects and watch for one of them on the magazine stand in the next few months!  (I’ll let you know when!).  I also build custom furniture in my basement using my expansive collection of tools.  Every piece of furniture I build I also design myself.  I’ve also been known to do other types of woodwork (trim carpentry, framing, etc) as well as the occasional metal work.

I’ve been into woodworking for a long time… probably 10 years or so.  I have been seriously into woodworking for four years and show no signs of slowing down.  In middle school we all had to take Tech. Ed., where we learned some of the basics of woodworking.  In high school, I took every course available in woodworking (6 programs, I believe) as well as four courses in drafting.  I graduated in ’05 with the bare minimum for everything else:  Math 11, Chem 11, Socials 11, English 12.  I did, however, complete the grade 12 French program, just to keep the university doors open as well as a few business classes.

Right now, I’m considering attending a post secondary school.  There is a world-renowned woodworking school up on the Sunshine Coast which I would love to attend.  However, the 9-month course costs $15,000 plus the cost of living.  Perhaps I can live without it.  My second choice is at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).  It’s called Advanced Woodworking & Furniture Design.  It costs $7,800 for the one year class.  The local technical school, BCIT, offers a course in woodwork, but is geared towards production work.  Nothing wrong with feeding a board through a machine and having a table come out the other end, but why on earth would someone want to do that for a living?

I’ve been giving some serious thought to starting up my own business lately and am weighing my options.  Perhaps I should wait a couple years.

It seems I know exactly where I want to go in life, but don’t know when to go or how to get there.