The Dance of the Woodworker

Woodworking is a skill that involves a carefully choreographed interaction between the craftsman, the tool, and the material. The material communicates through sound, smell, and reaction force. The skilled craftsman is always adjusting position, force, direction to achieve a precise result. In planing, for example, you start out pushing down on the toe of the plane with your left hand and applying a horizontal push with your right. As the cut progresses you try to maintain a steady speed even through changing grain. At the end of the cut you lift off with the left hand while your right hand pushes the plane all the way through the end of the cut. With practice these moves become more fluid and instinctive.