This is How a Practice Break Can Make You a Better Woodworker. There are so many opportunities to practice as a woodworker, you just need to stop and allow them. If you do, not only will you learn more, but you will make less mistakes on your projects.
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Practicing and Making Projects
However, practice in the true sense of the word is more about refining a skill, and for no other reason than refining a skill.
Though the projects do the same job, there is an element of danger in the mix, because a mistake can cause injury and even less time in the shop.
If you remove the danger element, and practice for the mere sake of practicing, then you will do more for your woodworking skills than practicing while producing. Here are some instances to look for in your woodworking process that are good indicators of when you should practice.
Stop to Practice When You Don’t Understand
This is the most common reason to practice, and the most over looked. When you don’t understand something, you should stop and practice. This is a double win, and you will make better projects as a result.
When you stop for something you don’t understand, you get the double effect from not ruining your project by pressing on, and by giving yourself an opportunity to learn. Combine these two, and the odds of you destroying a project go down dramatically.
It’s easy to recognize when you need to stop, because when you come to something you don’t understand, you tend to pause anyway. Learn what you need to know, practice the skill, and then apply it to your project once you understand it more.
Mistakes come from plowing away into territory you don’t understand. It’s ok to stop, and you won’t actually lose any time. On average, mistakes cost you more time than stopping, so you are actually doing yourself a favor by assessing the situation first.
See Also: Practice Like It’s Your Job
Stop to Practice When You Need a Refresher on an Old Tool or Technique
Another reason to stop and practice is when you need a refresher on a tool or a technique that you have not used in a while. Woodworking for most people is like riding a bike, but after a while everyone can use a little hands-on time to bring back the muscle memory.
Even the best woodworkers benefit from this kind of practice. If you have not used a tool in a while, or you have not done a certain process or technique, take some time to do a quick practice run, and it will help make less mistakes.
The practice run will give you time to diagnose anything that needs to be changed, give you a second to sharpen a tool, and put you in a better position to be successful. Do this especially for a skill that requires a little finesse, or a tool that you haven’t used in a while.
See Also: A Beginners Guide to Woodworking
Practicing For Safety
Practicing like this will also keep you safe. Over time, you tend to forget the little things that a tool or technique requires to keep you safe. This is not good, but you have the power to make yourself as safe as possible.
For example, if you just take the time to refresh yourself on carving, or using a table saw, you put yourself in a better place to make good decisions. If you barge right in and wing it, you are at an increased risk for mistakes and injuries.
Give yourself at least a little time to bring back the muscle memory. Make sure that your tools are in good condition, and that the blades are sharp. When you stop and practice, you do better and safer work.
Your homework is to stop and practice the next time you find that you don’t know something as well as you think you should. Look for the opportunity, and when it happens, don’t just keep on charging through the process.
Woodworking is supposed to be a fun and refreshing activity, not something that you rush through to the end. Stop and practice when you find that you need a little more understanding, and you will make better projects as a result.
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Also, if you haven’t used a tool in a while, dust it off and give yourself a refresher course in operating the tool. Doing this ahead of time means that when it comes time to use it, you will already have had your practice, and you will be able to advance your project faster.
Practice Break Wrap-Up
There are a lot of great reasons to practice more, and you should make it a point to practice as much as you can.
Practice for the sake of practice is when you stop what you are doing and work on the skill independently from a project.
Most people call making projects practice, and it is definitely a form of practice. This kind of practice has more to do with stopping the projects and practicing just for the sake of refining a skill or technique.
You will have a lot of opportunities to practice as long as you allow them.
Don’t worry about the pace or the speed of a project. Take the time to practice when you need to, and you will make better projects. It may sound like torture in the beginning, but stopping will actually give you more time than you ever would have by rushing. Try it. You will be surprised.
If you have any questions on How a Practice Break Can Make You a Better Woodworker, please Post a Question in the Q&A Forum and I’ll be glad to help. Happy building.
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