Why I write Make Stuff With Your Hands

An ulterior motive!

Could it be that I have a sneaky ulterior motive? Well of course. Sort of. Except, it is not sneaky, nor ulterior.

I love to teach, I really do. I want to teach classes on how to build things. I want to write books that help people learn how to build things. So many of the techniques that I use, I learned in books and I want to write one of those great books. I want to write something as amazing as The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking by James Krenov. I want to write something as useful as Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking. I want to write something as beautiful and inspiring as Sam Maloof, Woodworker. This is why I am here. I practice my writing so I can put my thoughts in words and pictures for you – even as I practice my craft. This blog will help me write a book that will be easy to learn from and full of amazing projects that you will want to build!

Amazing Teachers

I surely did not figure all this out just with books. My dad is a maker and put tools in my hands straight away. I also had an amazing apprenticeship with a master carpenter. Besides being a carpenter, he had an art degree, and was a musician. He stood next to me every day for years and he taught me how to make things. When I asked him if I could be his apprentice, he told me that I could if I promised to pass it along. Passing along making is why I write Make Stuff With Your Kid. I apprenticed under a master furniture maker for a year and he and I inspired each other – then we made a ton of wooden hand planes and patted ourselves on the back a little too much. (but anyway…)

My Future

I am going to keep writing for you. I will share my projects, and if you ask, I will help you with yours. I am making teaching and craft a part of every day of my life. It brings me great joy and I and hope that I can help you like others helped me. (John, you said I had to promise, and here I am!)

Alright, enough jawing already and on to the Craft…

I promised you some draw-knives and here are some draw-knives:

Hand made draw knife

My dad made these little beauties out of an old hand saw blade. I hope to turn some handles for them this weekend. I could not wait for handles, so since I took this picture, I sharpened them and tried them out. The are as sweet as they look. I took a few pulls at a duck decoy I have in the works and they are lovely. I can already tell that these will be my go-to tools for roughing out a new carving.

Thanks for coming by,

-Jim

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2 Responses to “Why I write Make Stuff With Your Hands”

  1. Harold Kniceley Says:

    Hey James, Didn’t know you were into metal work. Maybe you can teach me some of the tricks of the trade. I’d like to make a few knives to go along with a sort of Buckskinning theme,
    Blackpowder and all. I’ve been messing around with some old knives that I picked up at a yard sale, just reshaping them with a grinder and trying to see what I could come up with. Also could I construct a small forge here at home. Got any plans? That should be enough to keep you busy for a while .
    Kniceley

    • Hey Harold, I don’t have any forge plans specifically but there is some great info on Don Fogg’s website – click here or if you want to go the coal route, there are a ton of simple tutorials online. Either way, if you want to stay with the pound on hot metal route, make sure to look at The American Bladesmith Society page and try to get to one of their events. These are some of the nicest most helpful people I have ever met. Every master bladesmith I have talked to has gone out of their way to help me.
      Jim

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