Willingness to Try

Unlike some, I don’t shy away from trying techniques and processes that are new to me.

If you rely on somebody to show you how to do something, you may learn how to perform that task proficiently but you may not ever know how to do it another way, or develop your own methods of work. More significantly, you will never make a breakthrough and develop a new technique never before used.

Crossing Joint

Now, if your goal is to be able to make high-quality woodwork, simply mastering the well established techniques that we all read about should be enough. I do believe that having a solid understanding of the basics is essential, and knowing advanced techniques is useful as well.

It’s the willingness to look beyond what you know, and experiment, that will really help you develop on your own. This is the path to innovation.

To see if a process can be improved upon, focus on the desired outcome and identify which processes you know can be used to complete the task. Don’t stop there. Continue to examine the product and try to figure out how else it can be achieved. Chances are, you will figure out some ways of achieving the result that you hadnt realised previously. Many will likely be techniques already discovered and employed by others, but one or two may be viable options that are new.

There are always new woodworking tools and technologies coming out and it’s good to be aware of them, but don’t forget to look outside of the woodworking box. What tools are used in metalworking, upholstery, or ceramics that might be suitable or adaptable in whole or in concept to your application?

You may find something new that works well, or you may not find anything useful other than the new-found knowledge that you didn’t find anything worthwhile there. I believe that knowing even that is useful. But you can’t make new discoveries if you only follow.

Possibilities Inspire Me

One of my greatest inspirations is the idea of improvement.  I am not content simply reproducing existing designs – I always like to try new things and new ideas.

Man seems to be a problem-seeking as well as a problem-solving animal.  We are programmed to change, develop, and meet new challenges until we die.

Anthony Storr

(Find this quote, along with many other interesting quotes on my page titled Quotables.)

As I continue along my chosen career path, I continue to realize what my strengths are and what I want to be doing.  Design is definitely of interest to me.  Honestly, I don’t have much interest in recreating something that’s already been done.  I am an innovator and I enjoy creating original work.  Every piece in my Gallery is an original design of mine.

Deconstructed

Deconstructed

Sometimes my creative urges are driven by necessity – when there is nothing else available that does what I want.  This is often the case with the specialized tools that I make, such as this extra-long marking knife I made from an old socket-handle chisel.

Chisel Marking Knife

Most of the time, I find myself innovating because I think that I can make it better, or at least more to my liking.  This improvement may be functional or aesthetic.  Either way, I need to make it my own design – I need to add my own touch of flair.

These are my sketches and notes for my redesign of the conversation chair.  It’s a work in progress.

Conversation Chair Sketches page1 Conversation Chair Sketches page2 Conversation Chair Sketches page3 Conversation Chair Sketches page4 Conversation Chair Sketches page5

If you’re ever stuck for inspiration, pick something that you think you can improve upon or reinterpret.  Also, while on the topic of reinterpreting, don’t forget to sign up for #Woodchat’s Telephone Game Design Experiment.