Having Re-, Re-, Relearned the Lesson

Perhaps it’s because it’s almost midnight and I’m watching a woodworking video for the second time in the last couple of weeks but a question just struck me.  What does learning to work wood have in common with the movie, Airplane!?

You may be wondering what I’m doing watching the same video for a second time in such a short period of time.  However, I suspect, you may have done the same thing as well. (At least I hope you have for the sake of my sanity)  In trying to learn this hobby, this is not an unusual occurrence for me.  In fact, there are some videos that I’ve watched several times and articles and books that I’ve read several times.

It’s not unusual for me to run into a problem or new realization that sends me scurrying to the bookshelf, computer, or DVD player.  Occasionally (or often if I admit) I’ll read something that sparks a memory that sends me searching through my resources to check that I got it down.  Even without that spark I’ll go back and back and back again to something I learned.  I started with so little knowledge of the craft, at first what I read was as if I was reading it in a foreign language I didn’t speak.  As I’ve learned the vocabulary of the wood and the tools and learned to conjugate the grain, some of what I glossed over before suddenly makes sense.

“That’s great,” you may say, “but surely that doesn’t have anything to do with that oddball movie.”  My reply: “Ah but it does, and don’t call me Shirley.”  Airplane! was one of my favorite movies and I’ve seen it many times over the years.  One thing about that movie is that you have to pay attention.  In fact, it’s so loaded with little off-beat images that you can’t take them all in in one viewing.  That’s what I’ve been experiencing with my virtual apprenticeship in woodworking.

The first time I see something, I get the obvious and the main meanings (if I’m lucky).  The second time I may notice enough to ask myself why do it that way instead of another.  The third time I may actually have an ‘aha’ moment and figure out a nuance  or a reason for doing things a certain way.

I may get tired of some of these videos but I hope I never loose that thirst for learning that sends me back to them.  Now I’m off to see if the Autopilot can rip that long piece of 8/4 Maple for me.

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