furniture, philisophy

The Self-Taught Woodworker (Do Books Count?)

Staked stool sculpture, based on the design by Chris Schwarz

It has been five months since I decided that my previous work was too imperfect and too imprecise for my own critical liking. At that time, I pondered many ideas and decided I would actively get out of my comfort zone and start making things that I wasn’t personally passionate about but that are important in woodworking. I started, so to say, my own auto-didactic teaching method for myself to get better at things that bothered me about my work.

Making these ‘less exciting items’ would be a push in the direction of making woodworking less of a leisure hobby and a more serious thing, diving deeper into the matter.

The main goals that I have in the context of this auto-didactic teaching method are:

  • Make things that are presentable with no flaws
  • Make things that don’t lie within my passion but that matter to progress as a woodworker
  • And lastly, to become more precise and accurate

At the time, I was mainly carving sculptures and spoons, so I made a simple business plan of carving the three main acanthus leafs (Roman, Greek, Baroque) before July 4th, my birthday. Working with a deadline is good when self-discipline is needed, and I realized this would give me an entire month to master each acanthus leaf – not bad!

I did my best and came up with an idea for a baroque acanthus leaf and even got passionate about it (proving that just like music you can learn to like basically anything).

My first Acanthus leaf

So I started my own self-taught woodworking training with a simple enough carving idea and that is when things got interesting. I completed my baroque acanthus leaf, embarked upon a second one mirrored from the first, and started designing my own acanthus draping. That draping is still sitting in my workshop unfinished and I never got around to the Greek or the Roman acanthus leafs.

My birthday deadline is in two weeks and yet I am not panicking.


I am on an entirely different road right now.

I am still working with wood but it has become much clearer in my head how I have to proceed yet keeping  my goals fully in mind. I have decided that the best thing I can do at the moment for me in woodworking in order to become more precise is

making furniture.

I figured out making furniture tackles every aspect of myself that I suck at – being precise, working according to a clear plan, planning ahead, measuring things ahead of time.

First furniture project – a small stepping stool

I have currently no more deadlines, just lots of ideas about furniture flowing through my head. My next goal is to build a chair that is both comfortable and beautiful.

It has been an exciting road so far, and this new idea excites me beyond anything I have done in the past. I am not saying my work is improving yet, I need more time to assess that statement. But I do think this is a step in the right direction.

-Rudy Everts

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