A Man’s greatest resource is his labor. I know it’s been said many times before but that’s only because it applies to so many different places in anyone’s life. Anytime I don’t have money for something I want, I ask myself ‘Can’t I just build it myself?’ and over and over, I’m still surprised that I often can. I’m not some special kind of building wizard who’s been studying the ancient ways engineering under an ancient Shao Lin master on a mountain top. I’m a regular dude who just started trying to see what I could do. Each time I get better at it which is how I know you can too. Woodworking is much the same way.
“Anything you practice, you will get better at”-Denzel Washington.
Is it even worth the time?
Inevitably one of two voices will answer this question. When I feeling lazy or tired or hungry, the answer is always “no” followed by some cop out rationalization full of “reasons” that are totally not excuses. When I’m feeling energetic, the answer is always “of course. It would only take 20 min or an hour, or a week or two,depending on what it is. You can’t even get to the store and back in 20 minutes.”.
As I said earlier, I’m in no way a master woodworker. I do like it though and I have a decent aptitude for it which helps, but that aptitude converts into ability every time I take action on a new project. Each time I get a little better (You will too. There’s no way you can’t). Evaluate your own aptitude and if it appeals to you, learning the details will not be hard. Youtube is an amazing, free learning resource. Lynda.com is even better in so many ways. Here’s why woodworking is great for people on a budget.
1) It’s a huge money saver
This stuff was just for fun, playing around on the bandsaw.
You can literally cross items off your buy list because you can make them yourself. Here’s a list of things I’ve made in the last couple of years for uber cheap: Custom counter tops, window trim, dormer vent, small spiral staircase, chicken coop, door footings, study desk, fencing, raised beds, Free parts, floor transitions, birthday gifts, Island tops, accent pieces, AC access cover, custom doors, car repair, cabinet doors, cabinets, fridge shelves(Just had to paint them), bed frames, tables. all the things you spend your disposable income on! .) You can literally cross items off your amazon buy list because you can make them.
2) It puts you in touch with the cheapest, easiest to use building material there is.
There’s a reason that mankind has been using wood as the medium for everything from hobbies to large scale engineering projects for thousands of years. It’s also relatively easy to cut and modify compared to metal, etc. It’s the most abundant and readily available resource on we have access to. It literally grows right in our own back yard….or possibly your neighbors (Seriously, don’t try to steal your neighbors tree. That won’t end well, but if you find they’ve already cut it down, you can offer to remove it.).
4) Wood is everywhere, not just at Home Depot.
This is a tree that fell down in my Dad’s back yard. Also…Amazing fashion and safety sense.
I remember when the connection finally clicked for me that ‘all these weird leafy things are made from the same thing as the boards in the lumber section of Home Depot’. Actually they’re better. You can get amazing grain patterns, superior strength (Oak, mulberry, mesquite, versus weaker pine), and custom dimensions(3×4, 5×4, 1×4, etc.) by using lumber from a downed tree that blew over in last winters storm. In most areas there are even people that will drive a portable saw mill to your location to mill up the tree for you.
So come and join the brotherhood of woodworkers. You might just find a life long hobby that is also a vehicle to make your engineering, and financial dreams a reality no matter if it’s building a new door, table, a toy for your kid, or a kayak for the weekends.