New Year’s Resolutions for Woodworkers

1. Get into the shop to build more projects.
(This should be at the top, or at least near the top of every woodworker’s list.)

2. Keep tools, especially chisels, sharp.
(As many of you may know, this is my weakness. This, however, is not saying that you need to stop in the middle of your project to sharpen your chisels. Just touch them up – if need be – before putting them back in your drawer or roll.)

3. Push yourself to add to your woodworking skills.
(The only way to get better at anything is to challenge yourself. Do more. Skiers don’t get better cruising down the bunny slopes. Woodworking skills do not increase unless you take on more complicated projects or learn new techniques.)

4. Think for yourself.
(Do not believe that your favorite woodworker, writer, blogger or YouTube person has all the right answers. They don’t. No one in woodworking knows all the answers. Ask yourself questions. Seek additional advice.)

5. Don’t be afraid to fail.
(You learn tons more when you fail than you do when you get it done right the first time. If you make a mistake, toss it into the trash, burn it in the fireplace or set it aside for a later project. It’s only wood.)

6. Keep the shop cleaner.
(I’m not of the belief that sweeping your shop makes you smarter, but keeping the floor clean and tools in their place is surely going to make life easier. I waste too much time searching for misplaced tools. It’s my guess that there is most likely another completed project in the mix if I stay organized.)

7. Devote some of your woodworking time to your computer.
(Woodworking in front of your computer? Yep. Read articles and blogs. Watch video. Take online courses ( has a few). Increasing your knowledge helps tremendously when you’re working on resolutions #1 and #3.)

8. Spend $$$ on better lumber.
(Woodworkers are known to be … frugal. Sometimes that’s not the best policy. Money spent on better lumber pays huge dividends. It makes the finished project look better and often makes the project easier by not having to work around knots, checks, cracks or with warp, cup and bow. Besides, the added cost is a mere drop in the bucket for something that should be in your family for generations.)(BTW – the same argument can be made for hardware and tools.)

9. Woodwork with a foot in both worlds.
(If you’re inclined to do more using power tools, make it a point to complete a task using hand tools. If you are primarily a hand-tool woodworker, adapt more power tools into your woodworking. Better woodworking needs both. Early in my career while building a small table, I went to enormous effort to rig up my chop saw for a cut. Years later when building another similar table, I grabbed my handsaw and knocked out the task in way less time. Sounds simple, but it was an Ah-ha moment for me.)

10. Become a member of

(Yes. It is self-serving. But it’s my list. Click here to join.)

— Glen D. Huey

If you have a resolution that’s especially important to you, please add it the comments section below.



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One thought on “New Year’s Resolutions for Woodworkers

  1. Glen, your article on beginning woodworking was right on point. My first student is 14 years old. Not only does he know the different type of woods, but he has learned to read grains, and the difference between open and closed grain. I took him to The Wood Yard where I buy all my specialty wood and he began to call out the different types of wood without me asking him to identify the wood. At the beginning, I told his parents that he would not be operating any power equipment for about two weeks, if that wouldn’t discourage him I don’t know what would. However, the third week he showed up on my work shop steps with notebook in hand. It has been approximately four months of Saturdays and has already built two reproduction primitive pieces. I had one long-time woodworker friend that said he would never return after the first week. I asked that friend if he took wood shop in high school. He said, “no”. Case closed.

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