Having been working around pianos for 8 years, I barely thought about honing the hand woodworking skill. Most of the job is done by machine, routers, plane, jointer, drills, sander, etc.
A few years ago, I came to a new tuning customer's furniture workshop to tune his piano, an old, beat up, dusty Baldwin grand. There were all sort of wood, veneers, hand tools, you name it. Somehow after tuning, we started a conversation. He showed me the new Chinese Ming Dynasty table that he just made a model of.
I went home and did a research. His name is John Cameron, fine woodworker, has been teaching furniture making and hands on skills all over New England. He build artisan furniture mostly by hand. His work has been exhibited by many museums. Wow! The whole wall of tools at the shop kept swinging and rotating in front of my eyes. Could he take an apprentice?
During the second tuning appointment 6 month later, I asked him if I could do little things for free for him, woodworking related, just to learn. He rejected. I didn't push but emphasized my will. For the third time 6 month later, rejection. Well, if you push, things usually go the opposite way. I gave up.
About four years since the first tuning, John suddenly mentioned he's teaching a few woodworking enthusiasts at his shop. If one couldn't make it to a class, he could give me a short notice to come to fill in. I didn't even think. Sure! I'll be jogging fast to the shop to learn!
So the journey just started with John's patient instruction and critical yet invaluable evaluation. It started from sharpening tools and make a poplar block square using hand plane. Sounds easy. Three hours later, the tools are not sharp enough. Three hours later, no surface of the poplar block is flat. Well, it is a start. I'm so very grateful that John could open this door for me. Keep crawling in the middle of this life. Looking forward to a set of sharp tools and a square poplar hopefully not too far in the future.
Thanks to my dear family for the never ending support and hard push. I love you.