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AJB Temple

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Interesting topic and opinions. The pursuit of knowledge and skill is worthwhile in itself. I've done a few courses (violin making in Cremona, knife making in Japan for example) and looked at doing a long fine furniture course during my sabbatical. So I looked around and one problem that was significant for me, perhaps you too, was finding a course that is suitable for my level. I suspect this may be true of a number of enthusiasts who post on this and other wood forums.

I'm not a beginner. There are some things I can do very well, accurately and quickly. I can visualise and design. But am not an expert at any skill. With wide interests it is hard to narrow down skill acquisition that will be both satisfying and useful, and to find a course that can readily accommodate the level you are already at.

The other issue I find is the limit factor. In my case my other pastime is playing classical piano. I've had a lot of training and studied with some expert people. And there lies the rub: once you come across someone who is truly expert (either through work or being gifted as well as work), it is often apparent (to me anyway) that I could practise for a hundred years and still not be as good.

(PhD by the way is a right slog!).
 

paulrbarnard

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I’ve done a few courses with different people. My favourite was Garrett Hack, I got a very nice colonial inspired hall table out of that and some nice encouragement to take furniture making up full time. Unfortunately a six figure salary in technology was paying the mortgage and supporting two kids and a non working wife so it was a too big a leap of faith for me. I also did a couple of sessions with Rob Cosman who’s skills tend to get hidden behind the salesman...

the point I want to make though is that learning is an enjoyment in itself. Spending time with some one who is prepared to share their knowledge and help you develop your skills it great. It can become an obsession though 😀 don’t fall into the trap of spending too much energy on achieving perfection at the expense of getting a result. A finished project with imperfections that only you or some other perfectionist will see has more value to others than a pile of perfect dovetail test corners.
 

billw

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Oh I’m deffo not going to fall into the perfectionist trap lol (see any of my threads about stuff I’ve made)

I think my core aim is to have the opportunity to learn or improve skills ( more the former) in a more structured environment than my garage. I tend to feed off enthusiasm and being around people who were going through the same process would benefit me hugely.
 

mikej460

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I assume you'll still have a workshop wherever you end up?

btw 2 cats is nothing - we've got 8 of mummy's little darlings 😖
 

billw

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I assume you'll still have a workshop wherever you end up?

btw 2 cats is nothing - we've got 8 of mummy's little darlings 😖
Yeah my main criteria for a new property is workshop space, so far I’ve found that it’s a tough ask.

eight? I’m jealous!
 

mikej460

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Yeah my main criteria for a new property is workshop space, so far I’ve found that it’s a tough ask.

eight? I’m jealous!
They're Maine Coons, my wife shows them Coonspiracy Maine Coons – Maine Coon Cats and Kittens although I've just noticed she's changed the website after she decided to stop breeding and it's gone a bit Pete Tong. All the gibberish after their names isn't down to any academic achievement or military heroism, they're cat show titles.

Eight is too many as they (that is we - I do swear at them on a daily basis) don't get on and every room has cat stuff in it, we don't have carpets just cat hair yet we do have 3 vacuum cleaners. They rule the place I so need a new, warm workshop with a comfy chair to relax in with a nice cup of tea without being pounced on or stunk out.
 

Felix

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The other issue I find is the limit factor. In my case my other pastime is playing classical piano. I've had a lot of training and studied with some expert people. And there lies the rub: once you come across someone who is truly expert (either through work or being gifted as well as work), it is often apparent (to me anyway) that I could practise for a hundred years and still not be as good.
I've never understood this mindset. Let me ask you a question - can you play Beethoven's No 1 Piano concerto? Can you play it as well as Alice Sara Ott?

If the answer is yes to the first and no to the second, would you stop playing the piano? If you can play the concerto do you enjoy playing it? If you do why does it matter whether you can play as good as her or not - it's all about your enjoyment of doing something you like doing.

Yes, it's good to aim high, but there are very few people who reach the absolute pinnacle of their chosen hobby/career.

Just enjoy doing what you like doing - some people are just naturally gifted - and you just have to admire those that have it.....and dream

Cheers
Dean
 

philip sewell

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I did a short course with David Charlesworth probably 20 years ago now which was very good. Might be worth looking at.
 

altennis

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I have done some of the short courses that John Lloyd offers and found them really good. He is a great tutor and has a good workshop set up. If you want to try something a little different Peter Lanyon in Devon runs week long green woodworking courses, with accommodation available a walking distance away, which makes a great woodworking holiday. Also a great tutor and makes some lovely contemporary furniture.
 

samhay

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OP - What subject would you be doing postgraduate research in if you stick with your current/old plan?
If this is learning for learning's sake, a PhD would be a mistake. If you enjoy the subject, it's an enjoyable slog, but doesn't leave much room for hobbies.
If you have some flexibility in terms of the subject matter, can you work woodworking into it?
 

Jacob

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OP - What subject would you be doing postgraduate research in if you stick with your current/old plan?
If this is learning for learning's sake, a PhD would be a mistake. If you enjoy the subject, it's an enjoyable slog, but doesn't leave much room for hobbies.
If you have some flexibility in terms of the subject matter, can you work woodworking into it?
Use of wood and carbon sequestration? That could make a fun PhD! A quick google shows that it's a hot topic all over the place.
 

deema

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I think in your position, if money isn’t an issue or looking after a house, I would seriously consider becoming a journey man. Working for the best people I could find. Having said that, I’ve not comeacross anyone I couldn’t learn something from. I might be wrong, but I think there are only three things basically you need.
A knowledge of wood and it’s nature
A knowledge of aesthetics and what what works.
A practical knowledge of joints and prep.

The refining of those skills takes a lifetime, and I think that what sets the truly inspiring makers apart is the creative part of applying the basic to make something people highly desire. The creativity isn’t something I believe that can be taught.
 

billw

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OP - What subject would you be doing postgraduate research in if you stick with your current/old plan?
If this is learning for learning's sake, a PhD would be a mistake. If you enjoy the subject, it's an enjoyable slog, but doesn't leave much room for hobbies.
If you have some flexibility in terms of the subject matter, can you work woodworking into it?
My plans are to go into studying international security and diplomacy, it's a subject I enjoy rather than have much experience in since my undergraduate is business related. I realise it would be a tough three years, which is why I'm hoping that a year in woodworking would give me a break from academia - I'd probably still go on to further education afterwards but realise it would seriously impede my workshop time, but also that workshop time would be far more productive if I'd been on a course.
 

AJB Temple

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Thanks for being so judgemental

I've never understood this mindset. Let me ask you a question - can you play Beethoven's No 1 Piano concerto? Can you play it as well as Alice Sara Ott?

If the answer is yes to the first and no to the second, would you stop playing the piano? If you can play the concerto do you enjoy playing it? If you do why does it matter whether you can play as good as her or not - it's all about your enjoyment of doing something you like doing.

Yes, it's good to aim high, but there are very few people who reach the absolute pinnacle of their chosen hobby/career.

Just enjoy doing what you like doing - some people are just naturally gifted - and you just have to admire those that have it.....and dream

Cheers
Dean
I was not asking you to understand a mindset or to lecture me. We are all different. It is not up to you to judge what matters to me or to decide "what it's all about" for me.
 

Jacob

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......

The other issue I find is the limit factor. In my case my other pastime is playing classical piano. I've had a lot of training and studied with some expert people. And there lies the rub: once you come across someone who is truly expert (either through work or being gifted as well as work), it is often apparent (to me anyway) that I could practise for a hundred years and still not be as good.
......
My parents played violin and piano to some sort of standard but never brilliantly. This led them to believe that they were no good at music.
They both listened to and enjoyed a wide range of music including popular stuff, but were utterly inhibited about having a go themselves even though my mum often said she wished she could play the piano for fun in a pub and ditto my dad was into irish music.
They could have done it easily if they hadn't been so inhibited by formal but 'elitist' training.
A lot of people fall into this trap, in crafts and many other areas too.
 
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billw

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My parents played violin and piano to some sort of standard but never brilliantly. This led them to believe that they were no good at music.
They both listened to and enjoyed a wide range of music including popular stuff, but were utterly inhibited about having a go themselves even though my mum often said she wished she could play the piano for fun in a pub and ditto my dad was into irish music.
They could have done it easily if they hadn't been so inhibited by formal training.
A lot of people fall into this trap, in crafts and many other areas too.
Interesting take on it. I think personally if I was taught by someone and I could be as good as them, I'd wonder how good I could be.....but with no benchmark how would I know? At least if the teacher is exceptional you'll know when you've reached your limit. Now, maybe that competitive psyche could kick in, or maybe you'd rationalise it.

If I played football in the park with Lionel Messi, it's not like that would stop me playing football ever again because I was rubbish against him.
 

Jacob

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Interesting take on it. I think personally if I was taught by someone and I could be as good as them, I'd wonder how good I could be.....but with no benchmark how would I know? At least if the teacher is exceptional you'll know when you've reached your limit. Now, maybe that competitive psyche could kick in, or maybe you'd rationalise it.

If I played football in the park with Lionel Messi, it's not like that would stop me playing football ever again because I was rubbish against him.
I actually confirmed my mum's low self opinion by buying her a book of Fats Waller tunes. I didn't know any better but these were transcriptions of his actual playing and hence technically difficult and needing top-notch sight reading skills, which I don't imagine Fats himself would have had (could be wrong). Put her right off!
What I should have bought was a few of those one shilling sheets of pop (of her day) which have the words, melody, a piano accompaniment, guitar/ukelele chords and fret diagrams and highly accessible even to beginners. They might even have been tempted into buying a ukelele each!
Not sure how this translates into woodwork, but it might!
 
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Mark Karacsonyi

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Learning is always good. Once did a green woodworking course at living wood. Mike Abbott is a great teacher. Very different from my regular workload of cabinet making and restoration works.

My retirement plan is to turn to teaching. Maybe write a book or two.
 

Spectric

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All I can say is that if the classroom courses are anything like the sets of DVD's on Bandsaws and thickness/planers that I have watched multiple times then you will be getting a first rate education in woodworking from someone who has an obvious passion for the subject and in my opinion takes safety to a new level, I suppose you have to in an educational enviroment as it is not good advertising if all your students are reconised through missing digits!
 

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