"If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share." - W. Clement Stone
It is the time of year, in America, where we are encouraged to to name the things for which we are thankful. I am really thankful for a lot of things this year, safer welding helmets, x-ray vision, mind control, twerking, The Lady's Brunch Burger, and this! On a more relevant note, I am really thankful for folks willing to share their woodworking, toolmaking and maker experiences online. I wrote a ridiculous article on this serious topic a while ago: World Wide Woodworking. My belief in the willingness of woodworkers to share, both good and bad experiences, was reinforced this year at the WIA conference. Nine online pioneers were asked to speak at an "online round-table" to discuss what they do, why they do what they do, and some of their experiences.
This round-table, to me, was just as useful as the excellent class on cutting dovetails. Kudos to Ms. Megan Fitzpatrick and her staff for putting this together. So many woodworkers both brand new and "well-seasoned" don't have access to costly classes, conferences, or apprenticeships. The dwindling emphasis on the industrial arts in schools also means that these skills aren't necessarily being taught in classrooms anymore either. The large (and growing) group of online makers has encouraged many people, especially of the younger generations, to try making something with their hands. Those folks then are able to share what they made, with thousands of people, with just the click of a mouse.
The group of folks chosen for the WIA 2013 online community round-table included:
(from right to left in the photo above)
Ellis Walentine of Woodcentral.com and formerly of American Woodworker Magazine
Matt Vanderlist of Matt's Basement Workshop
Shannon Rogers of The Renaissance Woodworker
Wilbur Pan of giant Cypress
Mark Spagnuolo of The Wood Whisperer
Steve Schuler of The Literary Workshop Blog
Chris Adkins of High Rock Woodworking
Tom Lovino of Tom's Workbench
Dyami Plotke of the Penultimate Woodshop
Everyone on the panel was very willing to share successes as well as frustrations and failures. It seems that just about everyone encountered some of the same problems at one time or another but their message of stick-to-it-ness really came through loud and clear. Whether you are just starting your woodworking journey or you are looking to add that next level to your skill set, I encourage everyone to check out each of these web pages. Each of these sites has something different to offer in terms of skill sets and information. One common theme among all of these sites, however, is the passion that goes into creating them, and the willingness to share their knowledge. You don't, however, have to start a website to share your experience with someone else. If you are a woodworker or a maker, please find someone to share your knowledge with and encourage them to make something. The reward is unparalleled, I assure you.