WoodSkills Issue 02 - Page 82



#6 -- Practice

• Do It! Sharpen often. Evaluate your progress. Keep trying. Learn. Own it! Make it a very deliberative process.

• Refine your methodology. Make it instinctive. When it’s instinctive you won’t hesitate. You’ll get faster. Your tools will perform better and so will you.

• Don’t over-think details that are more or less irrelevant. Remember the notion of ‘good enough’.

• Touch up frequently and your tools will always be sharp. The more often you sharpen the less you sharpen.

• Regular practice is essential to developing and maintaining fine motor control as well as fine tuning your awareness of the small things that really matter.

• Practice is also important for enhancing your skills; for challenging yourself to take it to another level; to get faster; to make it more instinctive. If you are challenging yourself in other areas of woodworking, for example, ever finer dovetails, then your sharpening will have to be enhanced to keep up with your new requirements.

Learning to be a good sharpener is akin to becoming a good dovetailer or a good anything. It won’t happen by itself. When you’ve put in the time, paid your dues and become fairly good it will be a huge confidence booster. Many who come to woodworking in middle age following a career doing other things struggle. They struggle because they tend to process things according to the norms and experience built up over a lifetime of doing other things. It seems like starting over again. Our ability to learn and, to make the transition from one world to another, can be frustrating. We don’t have the patience we used to. Go easy on yourself. You can do it! It will come!