Quantcast
  • We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

Celebration of Craftsmanship

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Steve Maskery

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2004
Messages
11,795
Reaction score
130
Location
Kirkby-in-Ashfield
It's a few years since I've been but I've always enjoyed it when I have.

What always amazes me is that there is so much talent here in the UK. We really are World Leaders in design and craftsmanship. And there is a wide range of actual skill on display, too, from good to fantastic.

But it's not all perfect.

I remember one year when I went, I saw a sideboard-type-thingy where one door had very obviously been hung upside down. You could still smell the lacquer, too. I bet the maker had been up until the early hours trying to get it finished and had cocked up due to tiredness. I felt for him (or her, I can't remember who it was).

So I always come away inspired, wanting to come back to my own workshop and make something special.

I think that my best work, I mean my very best work, would at least hold up against the most flawed pieces there.
 

custard

Established Member
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Messages
7,028
Reaction score
306
Location
Hampshire
This year is an especially good year to visit because they have a record number of furniture schools exhibiting. That means an enthusiastic amateur can see the kind of work that is being produced by students.

In my opinion the main reason so few hobbyist woodworkers get anywhere near their true potential is that they invest too much of their resources on tools rather than training. Here's a chance to see what that magic ingredient of training can deliver!
 

Doug B

Shy Tot
Joined
6 Aug 2008
Messages
3,215
Reaction score
348
Location
@dougsworkshop
Yep really looking forward to this years show, my good mate JonnyD formally of this parish is exhibiting for the first time so an added bonus to what is a really good exhibition.
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
2,298
Reaction score
75
Location
In me workshop
custard":3292xqed said:
This year is an especially good year to visit because they have a record number of furniture schools exhibiting. That means an enthusiastic amateur can see the kind of work that is being produced by students.

In my opinion the main reason so few hobbyist woodworkers get anywhere near their true potential is that they invest too much of their resources on tools rather than training. Here's a chance to see what that magic ingredient of training can deliver!
Custard,
Curious on why do you think in this day and age, that training is a magical ingredient.
Maybe 20 years ago, I might have agreed with you.
What's lacking from the internet, if one keeps reading the contributions from folks like yourself?

Tom
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2
Location
Salisbury
Ttrees":181p3z6e said:
custard":181p3z6e said:
This year is an especially good year to visit because they have a record number of furniture schools exhibiting. That means an enthusiastic amateur can see the kind of work that is being produced by students.

In my opinion the main reason so few hobbyist woodworkers get anywhere near their true potential is that they invest too much of their resources on tools rather than training. Here's a chance to see what that magic ingredient of training can deliver!
Custard,
Curious on why do you think in this day and age, that training is a magical ingredient.
Maybe 20 years ago, I might have agreed with you.
What's lacking from the internet, if one keeps reading the contributions from folks like yourself?

Tom
I happen to agree with Custard but I'm also curious to see what his reply will be before I pitch in with my 2 euros worth - Rob
 

thetyreman

Established Member
Joined
4 Mar 2016
Messages
2,854
Reaction score
120
Location
North West
I would like to go one year, looks quite intimidating though, not sure I'd enjoy it, would be good to see the dovetails up close and inspect them to see if mine are anywhere near as good.
 

Just4Fun

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2017
Messages
544
Reaction score
37
Location
Finland
custard":rlq6muol said:
This year is an especially good year to visit ...
That's good because this year I am actually close by so I will pop along.
 

Fitzroy

All the gear...
Joined
12 Mar 2013
Messages
1,171
Reaction score
96
Location
Aberdeen
Over the years I’ve seen more and more of our training go from face to face to CBT (computer based training). Whilst CBT has a place the problem with it is you can’t ask questions or clarify issues, or be picked up by a knowledgeable person who observes where you are going wrong. This can leave you to have to make assumptions and/or think you’ve understood something but actually be unconsciously incompetent.

We (in my industry) use CBT to build basic awareness and get people up the learning curve followed by application and practice overseen by an experienced individual.

I use YouTube heavily in my woodworking learning journey but know formal time in a workshop with an experienced tutor would enable me to leap forwards in my skills.

Just my 2p worth.

Fitz
 

MikeG.

Established Member
Joined
24 Aug 2008
Messages
10,176
Reaction score
667
Location
Essex/ Suffolk border
custard":f12adsos said:
...In my opinion the main reason so few hobbyist woodworkers get anywhere near their true potential is that they invest too much of their resources on tools rather than wood...
My variation on your theme.

I went to one of the first of these shows, 20 or 25 years ago, when it was one room and took just a few minutes to go around. I'm seriously tempted to go this year. And bravo for the sensible ticket prices......
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2
Location
Salisbury
MikeG.":1po4j3rr said:
I went to one of the first of these shows, 20 or 25 years ago, when it was one room and took just a few minutes to go around. I'm seriously tempted to go this year. And bravo for the sensible ticket prices......
I went to a similar show in Cheltenham during the 70's when I was at uni to see many of the classic English A&C pieces by the Barnsley's, one of which was the domed linen chest with the exposed dovetails on the lid. At that time, there were none of these new fangled smartfones and digital cameras, so I shot off a complete roll of proper 'old skool' film on my Nikon FM, after which I took it into Boots for developing and printing.
Going back a few days later to collect the pics, I was devastated to find out that they'd lost the roll of film :evil: ...no pics - Rob
 

custard

Established Member
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Messages
7,028
Reaction score
306
Location
Hampshire
Ttrees":2yq0xs3w said:
custard":2yq0xs3w said:
This year is an especially good year to visit because they have a record number of furniture schools exhibiting. That means an enthusiastic amateur can see the kind of work that is being produced by students.

In my opinion the main reason so few hobbyist woodworkers get anywhere near their true potential is that they invest too much of their resources on tools rather than training. Here's a chance to see what that magic ingredient of training can deliver!
Custard,
Curious on why do you think in this day and age, that training is a magical ingredient.
Maybe 20 years ago, I might have agreed with you.
What's lacking from the internet, if one keeps reading the contributions from folks like yourself?

Tom
When it comes to learning how to work wood the internet sounds like a great solution, but in truth it often falls down.

Let's take this forum as an example. Sure, there are some very knowledgeable people who will share their experience. But there are also plenty of BS artists who have never made a stick of furniture but somehow feel qualified to share their clueless opinions. The problem is distinguishing one from the other!

Then there's the commercial reality behind YouTube videos. The people who post this content aren't trying to educate as much as attract and retain an audience. Consequently they have to speed everything up to prevent viewers getting bored and drifting to other sites. But woodworking just isn't like that. In reality successful woodworking requires planning and patience and loads and loads of preparation. All things that make for dull videos but successful projects! Consequently people hoping to learn from YouTube videos come away with the wrong impression of how long projects take, and think they can just pop into their shed and bang out something impressive and useful in a single afternoon.

I accept the internet has a role, it's useful when you need a quick answer to a quick question. But as a central learning resource for woodworking it's pretty much a non starter.
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2
Location
Salisbury
custard":3gg1kezm said:
When it comes to learning how to work wood the internet sounds like a great solution, but in truth it often falls down.

Let's take this forum as an example. Sure, there are some very knowledgeable people who will share their experience. But there are also plenty of BS artists who have never made a stick of furniture but somehow feel qualified to share their clueless opinions. The problem is distinguishing one from the other!

Then there's the commercial reality behind YouTube videos. The people who post this content aren't trying to educate as much as attract and retain an audience. Consequently they have to speed everything up to prevent viewers getting bored and drifting to other sites. But woodworking just isn't like that. In reality successful woodworking requires planning and patience and loads and loads of preparation. All things that make for dull videos but successful projects! Consequently people hoping to learn from YouTube videos come away with the wrong impression of how long projects take, and think they can just pop into their shed and bang out something impressive and useful in a single afternoon.

I accept the internet has a role, it's useful when you need a quick answer to a quick question. But as a central learning resource for woodworking it's pretty much a non starter.
As you rightly say, t'interweb is very useful when you're doing some research on a specific topic, or you need a quick answer to solve a particular problem and even then, you may not find it, which is why I don't bother very much with all the UToobers although some are much better than others.
It's also true that we tend to 'click away' from something fairly rapidly; not so much with UToob as it's more visual but in my experience it's certainly the case with Instagram where some well meaning contributors type the equivalent of War and Peace :lol: accompanied by one pic...that's an instant 'move on' for me. When I worked for a certain tool company that shall be nameless, the object was to get the message across within 10seconds of the viewer starting to read it, otherwise they're going to 'click away'.
Custard is right in that woodworking is about planning, patience, preparation and ultimately really thinking your way through a project, especially if it's something you haven't tackled before. If you have a time served, gnarly old craftsman constantly bending your ear telling what to do and more importantly, what not to do it's vastly more effective than sitting in front of a 'pooter screen. My two euros - Rob
 

Sideways

Established Member
Joined
26 Dec 2017
Messages
1,019
Reaction score
44
Location
United Kingdom
I'm a little too far away to treat myself to a trip to this show but I've enjoyed reading through the website and looking at the websites and portfolios of many of the exhibitors.
One thing struck me (not for the first time) in the process :
Good craftsmanship can be seen and admired for it's own value, but aesthetics and design are - at least to me - what makes a piece successful or not. In my eyes the very best work comes when the designer also understands the materials and methods and achieves a lightness in their piece that most people cannot, without making it fragile.
I see the woodworking schools as playing an important role in inspiring students to experiment and encouraging creative design.
Thanks for spreading the word about the event :)
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
2,298
Reaction score
75
Location
In me workshop
Since this thread referenced about woodworking shows, I kind of took your word hobbyist in this particular thread to mean something entirely different #-o

I suppose I'm probably more of an obsessionist, rather than hobbyist, and have been around long enough that I can easily spot the BS artists from the experts.
Shows like this are what I might be quite interested in sometime down the road, as I never done any formal training, and this is how one could get the leg up.

From above comments mentioned here, I was really expecting to find more discussion about other things possibly missing from the internet like...
Obscure thinking outside the box design principals being forced upon thee often,
business studies, and marketing/learning to talk and being able to convey your expertise....
and (insert your point here) kinda thing.

Thankfully I have plenty of wood, and that's the reason I have my machinery.
I don't see where you could go wrong having/spending much time and effort on what will be good machines that one will not "grow out of" in this game.

What's even more specifically concerning this topic,
I would think it a bit silly if one were to go studying for years and not have anything at the end other than a piece of paper, although I presume folks who go to formal learning establishments are probably hoarding aplenty, waiting for the day, or have deep enough pockets to acquire the lot.

Design is like music to me, and that's that.

Not that I'm totally disagreeing with you folks,
I'm just fishing on what else could be studied.
Thanks
Tom
 

woodbloke66

Established Member
Joined
17 Sep 2018
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
2
Location
Salisbury
Ttrees":1u27gqnt said:
From above comments mentioned here, I was really expecting to find more discussion about other things possibly missing from the internet like...
Obscure thinking outside the box design principals being forced upon thee often,
business studies, and marketing/learning to talk and being able to convey your expertise....
and (insert your point here) kinda thing.

Tom
Peter Sefton has probably got one of the best schools currently and the syllabus for his long course deals with the business aspect in Term 3 but there appears to be a caveat of 'should they wish.' There's a little optional bit tacked onto the end dealing with 'Self Employment, writing a Business Plan and Marketing' so it appears that workshop activities are paramount.
Conversely, if you were to dip into Alan Peters book "Cabinet Making, the Professional Approach" there's a huge swathe dealing with the business aspect of running a workshop which I feel is equally, if not more important than the actual nuts n'bolts of woodworking; this was one of the prime movers of John Makepeace's Parnham House course lasting two years. Anyone seeking to go into self-employed woodworking as a means of earning a living should, in my view, regard themselves as a businessman/woman first and a woodworker some way second - Rob
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
2,298
Reaction score
75
Location
In me workshop
That's the type of thing I was referring to Rob.
I haven't set out to do that type of studying ever, although I do read about various related threads here about this whenever it comes up.
In this regard I don't know the BS artists from the real ones, I suppose,
but at least I have a pretty good idea by the work they do, and the fact that these threads never really
concern much other than the professionals.

Maybe I'm living in fantasy land, but these kind of shows could propel one to a career they might have thought otherwise near impossible.
Tom
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
558
Location
Pembrokeshire
I hope I'm not considered a BS artist :lol:

I think I've got a fairly unique outlook on the subject having grown up with the internet, if it wasn't for youtube videos and the like I seriously doubt I would be in the line of work I am in now and love. Do you know what started me down this path? "How It's Made" on the Discovery Channel, more specifically the "baseball bats" episode. It was the first proper exposure I had to woodturning at age 13-14 which made me very interested in the subject and I started watching youtube videos on it from Mike Waldt, Carl Jacobson, Robbie the Woodturner etc... which made me able to see what was possible with the machine, which resulted in me getting a lathe (An old Myford ML8 :)) for Christmas and having a play with it.

I suppose you could say the first training you receive is at the school level, I.E Design and Technology, Resistant Materials. Whilst I studied this curriculum I would say there is perhaps nothing worse for putting off someone from doing a practical career for life. The teacher was absolute rubbish, seriously unencouraging and really had no interest in anything outside of CNC machines, "Why are you bothering doing woodturning" kind of level. The curriculum was really low on practical and very high on theory work focusing on ridiculous nonsense like "Stakeholder requirements" and other babble straight off "The Apprentice". Looking back I really don't see the point in teaching this to sub 16-year-old children when they really only need the very basics of how to work with materials and tools, not making grand plans on how to become a millionaire in a month. This should only really be taught at the higher level, otherwise, you're just going to end up with too many people who have got excellent paperwork but have absolutely no practical skill. So all in all, school qualifications were really a total waste of time and didn't help me at all. I really think they try to cram too much into one pupil which really drastically lowers the quality of pupil being taught, too much on the mind along with the stress of so many exams, etc... I didn't revise for any of my exams or really worry or stress out much about it at all which I really think helped my mental state going on further in life.

One of the best things I ever did was enroll in a college run course which allowed me out of school one day a week to do a "Construction" course. The first year was Bricklaying and the second year was Carpentry and Joinery based, it was run pretty much how a level one qualification in the subjects would be like and I extremely enjoyed both years as there were encouraging tutors who knew what they were talking about and actually wanted to teach people to become future tradesmen rather than glorified entrepreneurs. It was great as it taught you the very basics of working with your hands, using tools and how materials worked which is really what should've been taught in school. This really prepared me for hitting the ground running when I went to college, which I actually enrolled for a Furniture Making and Restoration course which the college did. "Hmph, good luck making any money doing furniture making" said the D&T teacher... Well I suppose he was right as I never did make any money making furniture :lol:. I did a year of FM&R which I really enjoyed but I felt it really wasn't going to result in an apprenticeship or a job, I learned quite a lot from there but not as much as I could have because there was a lot of students that just take any course to get government benefits without having much interest in the subject. Of course, the college had to make sure these students passed to get funding from the government for the course, so the students with half a clue about what they were doing were really left to their own devices whilst the focus was on the ones that won't pass without serious help to scrape past the finishing line. I suppose if I had enrolled in one of the more prestigious training colleges like Rycotewood, Barnsley Workshops or Parnham House I would've been pushed more to become a cabinetmaker as I would've been in a more intense learning environment, but not everyone can afford the luxury of traveling far afield for that :( .

After that year I ended up enrolling in the Joinery course in the college, which was practically the same as the school link course I did with a little more paperwork, in the first two months I had blown through the whole practical course and spent the rest of the time either messing around or working on workshop fixtures. Towards the end of the first year, I was offered an apprenticeship with a very reputable local joiner who predominantly specialized in traditional boxed sash amongst other work. This is where the training really took off for me, I learned more in a month working for this individual than I had in 4 years of school and college. The kicker really was I was working with people that weren't even qualified to do the work, they just picked up the trade at some point in time and went from there and were training people to become qualified. I spent a year there before the business was shut down, as all good things must come to an end. I was transferred to another joiner who advertised themselves as "the premier local joiner" that used CNC machines and other state of the art equipment, what I saw there in the 3 months I worked there was shocking, terrible workmanship, constant bickering etc... it really was a horrible environment to work in. When I talked to one of the longer time-served employees I was told about 100 people had come and gone in 4 years or so, in such a rural community this means something is seriously wrong. Had I not worked for the other individual and this was my first experience of Joinery at a professional level I really think things would've turned out differently. This company had qualified people but had no idea of the job outside of their specific task, imagine a window painter that only ever painted windows during and after his apprenticeship having a Level 3 qualification in Joinery despite having never actually done Joinery. When I had a hammer thrown at me by the big boss for some minor mistake I thought that was enough and I left, only the have him on my doorstep the next day begging me to come back, which I did foolishly for 3 days before I started having grief off his wife for being a "coward" and a "troublemaker" despite only quietly quiting.

I was extremely fortunate to have yet another apprenticeship with another proper craftsman, who was funnily enough, a qualified farmer but not a joiner. This man had no formal training or apprenticeship with anyone, only picked up what he saw and read out of books, and to this day is possibly the best craftsman I've seen. Lovely man to work for, still do :). I finished my level 3 qualification, despite not really having done much acutal work in college except help out with maintenance and fixtures :lol:.

So all in all, what do I think? TV and Youtube was definitely the gateway drug into what I'm doing now, without that I would be some mediocre computer engineer or rubbish scientist with 40K of student debts tying me down for the rest of my life over a piece of paper. Since education at school level is so rubbish (in my case anyway) and children can't get exposed to anything beyond a CNC machine anymore how are they supposed to find out that they might have a gift for working with their hands? These poor kids get shoved down the funnel of university education and pay for it for the rest of their lives, you see it now, people in their 30s and 40s giving up their jobs in computing and science to pursue something more down to earth, wishing they had done it much earlier. School education beyond age 14 was totally pointless for me and a total waste of time I'll never have back, College was good and gave me access to on the job training and that is where things really fired up for me and gleaming information on certain subjects from old books such as traditional joinery and machining has really helped me stick out. There are so few people in the joinery and even carpentry trade too, a shortage actually. I've been offered 2 very well paid positions recently from separate companies as there just isn't anyone with enough mind-power to fill these slots anymore, all those people were shoved down the aforementioned funnel of university back at the school level. You need smart people in the trades too, running building sites and workshops, not enough chiefs so to speak. Also, I must sing the praises of this forum, I’ve been a member for little under a year now and the amount of little facts and knowledge I pick up is truly remarkable. The vast amount of total experience here is astonishing and it’s really a one stop shop for any question at all. It’s possibly one of the best things I’ve joined up to, where else could you get helpful expert advice such the advice I got for my motor problems the other day off Bob Minchin for FREE?

School = Bad
College Training = Good
Learning from online videos and articles = Good
On the Job Training = Excellent
Further learning with old books = Also Excellent
Forums = Best :D

Anyway, Rant over :)
 

Trainee neophyte

[Insert witty and amusing title here]
Joined
12 Apr 2019
Messages
2,275
Reaction score
137
Location
Greece
Trevanion":3i4futm2 said:
I hope I'm not considered a BS artist :lol:

....

Anyway, Rant over :)
Anyone who makes things for a living - no matter what it is - deserves respect. Anyone who fills spreadsheets for a living, and gets paid three times more that a "maker" is probably in for a rude shock soon(ish).

As mentioned earlier in the thread, the internet has both experts, and people like me, adding their opinions, and we all know opions are like ar$es -everyone has one. I have no illusions as to my abilities, and yet the internet has opened me up to a world of possibilities. Howeve, I believe that I can only conceive of this as possible, because of my early training. By early, I mean age 7-10, at boarding school, where woodwork was a required subject. I learned how to hold a saw properly, how to use a spokeshave, how o make little boats (we were 7 years old - what else would you want to make?). I shudder to think of the accidents that could have happened with 30 7year olds in a workshop surrounded by sharp Implements - probably be illegal now, but somehow we all survived. I distinctly remember learning to close my eyes when I blew sawdust away - two days of not being able to see out of one eye meant I REALLY learned that lesson.

Next was a comprehensive school (do they still have those?) with woodwork and metalwork, but being state schools, I learned nothing at all, and it was considered irrelevant, and for thickos who wouldn't be able to get a real job. The REALLY retarded went to "rural studies", because we all know farmers can make money without ever having to think, or count, or breath with their mouths closed. (Before anyone gets upset, I am a farmer).

Many years later, and with the help of YouTube and books, I have made a vast array of things, because I believed it was possible. All of that belief comes down to what I learned when I was 7, with hands-on training. In another life, I might have made a competent carpenter,although I have the agricultural "that'll do" problem of never seeking perfection. It is my humble opinion that a craft is learned by doing, with the comforting presence of Mr Miagi looking over your shoulder when things get tricky.

"Wax on. Wax off."
 

Trevanion

Greatest Of All Time
Joined
29 Jul 2018
Messages
3,775
Reaction score
558
Location
Pembrokeshire
I know this thread is supposed to be about the award but I'd like to add to my rant :)

I was talking to a mechanic friend today who's had a college apprentice for over a year now, a very talented mechanic at 17 who from what I was told excels at the practical stuff and is very keen. Unfortunately, this lad was at risk of not passing further in his apprenticeship because he didn't have the correct piece of paper that said he could do Maths since he hadn't passed with a C grade in school, so they make you do it all again in college on the side. Now, this kid wasn't good at maths, he wasn't an academic at all so he struggled the whole way through this qualification to try and achieve his C grade despite the mechanic and even the college tutors saying it wasn't really necessary for the job as there really isn't much in the way of mathematics that isn't already sorted out for you on a chart or something. He managed to scrape a C grade in the end after a re-sit but I do find it really daft that the college was going to halt this boy's further education and apprenticeship just because he couldn't do something that wasn't really relevant to the course, all because the government thinks everyone in the country should have a C in Mathematics minimum. Surely if everyone's got a C in mathematics that just makes it a worthless grade anyway?

With the woodworking, I do quite a lot of mathematics, but almost all of it is done on a calculator once it gets over 2-digit numbers. I would wager I haven't even used 20% of what I had to learn in school to pass mathematics, most of it you don't encounter in day to day life unless you're a maths teacher :?. I also feel unless you're applying that knowledge you've learned to something fairly regularly(I.E Using geometry in woodworking) you pretty much forget all about it once you leave school, so then what's the point of learning it? Wouldn't it be more useful to be learning proper life skills that WILL help people down the line in their life rather than a bunch of babble you don't need to know unless you're going into those specific fields? As I said, the last 2 years of school for me were a total waste of time except for the construction course I did, I would've been far better off going into further education earlier on and learning mathematics and such relevant to the field I was getting into rather than trying to cram too much unnecessary, useless knowledge in my head.

With it being the exam results season, Anyone else got any thoughts?
 
Top