Andrew Brant

Just getting started

Andrew Brant
Just getting started

Where I'm at these days is way too much overthinking in woodworking.  

When I was a teenager working at a summer camp I used to come up with simple ways of holding work or getting a craft done no matter what. Sometimes I felt lucky if I had a sharp pocket knife and an old, metal vise that my grandad must have also used back in the '30's.  Sometimes I had a tiny coping saw, and I felt lucky for it. I never could quite master an axe, but at least I got some confidence with it. 

Now I'm tending to first, whenever I want to do something, read too many tool reviews and watch too many videos.  I ask questions, and I check out what the rest of the wonderful online woodworking community has come up with. I'll buy a new tool before even trying something. 

Sometimes you have to just get started. I still don't have the best bench. And of course I don't have the best tools when compared to people who have spent most of a lifetime working and mastering the craft. 

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Last, I was freaked out about dovetails.  Before then, it was octagonal legs. I finally just chopped a little holder from a scrap of pine into a 90 degree notch with the point down, and clamped it with a basic little F clamp. I made a planing stop from another scrap. And it worked. I just planed down to the lines with my jack plane, and the oak melted like butter with a little 'mutton tallow' - Crisco, a trick picked up from Mr. Schwarz at www.lostartpress.com

 At this point, I don't even remember if I've read anything like this, dreamt it, or it just made sense. But it certainly makes sense, especially without a table saw to make a larger jig.  

Right now I feel incredibly lucky - more illustration commissions at once than I've had in a while, lots of woodworking projects for others and for my home and partner, and my first proper woodworking class coming up soon. I have more to try than time to ever do it. But I'm Breaking through. One bit at a time. 

artist, printmaker from chicago