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Arguing With Myself

I've followed the Lost Art Press Blog since 2013. And when I set out to create a kit design for my workbench business, I spent days looking through the archives to find everything Chris had ever posted that contained the word "bench".

Yeah. It was a lot.

What I found particularly frustrating, then amusing, and now admirable, was the frequency with which he changed his opinions. How could the optimum placement of dog holes or the ideal bench top thickness be something that would ever change?

I just wanted to know what to build.

It took me a little while to realize that all of his advice passed through a biased lens. For Chris, that bias was time and experience. He was constantly experimenting. He was always willing to test conventional wisdom as well as his own assumptions and habits.

For someone who was trying to design and build a prototype workbench kit in two weeks, this was more than a little frustrating.

As the clock ticked on the opening day of the first Handworks I realized I was going to have to filter his advice through my own biased lens. What materials could I get? Did I have the tools, experience and time to build it? Could I sell it at a price that people would be willing to pay?

Answering these questions for myself was the only way I would be able to come up with the "right" design.

But it was only the right answer for that moment in time. That first show provided a lot of feedback. And over time, as I acted on that feedback, I expanded my access to materials and built my skills. I changed. The market changed. And the design changed along side it.

As I expand the knowledge base in the Foundations Feed I find myself looking back at the first video I posted on this site. It was only month ago, but I'm already questioning some of my opinions. What bias did I apply to that initial tool set? Was it the right advice?

This is why I have come to admire Chris' willingness to change his opinion. I've discovered that it takes a lot of work to change your mind and overcome, or even recognize, your own biases.

But I'm enjoying the process.

As I make these videos I'm doing my best to question my methods and explain my habits. When my thoughts change I'll be sure to explain why. I trust you'll let me know if I ignore my own advice.

"Where are my Foundations Feed videos?"

If you aren't getting the Feed, but you are getting these blog posts, you need to subscribe here. I will eventually have some paid courses available, but the Foundations Feed will always be free.

This Week on the MWA Podcast

We spoke with Blake Loree about his new shop and woodworking school in Waco, TX. Blake is currently offering classes on the Democratic Chair, which was created by Curtis Buchannon. In the interest of full disclosure, I need to mention that Blake is a customer of mine (though that had nothing to do with his appearance on the show).

On rust prevention...

I asked Instagram what they used to fight rust and the responses came rolling in. If you'd like to weigh in, you can join the conversation here.

The Week Ahead

I'll be continuing the series I began on Friday about the properties and sawing of wood. We'll get into the differences between Flat, Rift and Quarter-Sawn wood. We'll skim the surface of what these different cuts mean when it comes to wood movement. Then we'll finish the week with our first Foundations Feed Project.

Have a great week in the shop!


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