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ShopNotes Podcast 085 — Alumni Day

By: Phil Huber
Former Woodsmith & ShopNotes editor Randy Maxey joins the cast for a trip down memory lane, talk of sharpening, learning about woodworking and more.

There's an old saying, "You never step into the same river twice." A similar sentiment can be applied to woodworking or even a workshop. our tools, skills, interests, and priorities change as we practice this craft. Without this recognitiion, it's tempting to feel static about tools, techniques, or approaches.

One of my favorite people joins the show today. Randy Maxey served as a senior editor for Woodsmith & ShopNotes magazines. Over the course of the conversation, you'll see this idea of an elastic view of woodworking coming up again and again.

Since our cubicles were adjacent, Randy and I became friends and woodworking enablers. My writing and hand tool skills are better because of his influence. Randy has written several woodworking books and continues to teach classes. His emphasis (as it always has been) is on getting people started in woodworking.

He and I debated all things woodworking: hand planes, sawing techniques, tool choices. In a way, he started my journey to getting rid of my table saw in favor of a band saw.

In this episode, he, John, and I touch on sharpening, teaching, tool recommendations, and setting up a shop. While teachers and experts are looked to for advice, one thing Randy stresses is that that can only take you so far. From there you have to try, build some things, and practice. Only then can you turn that advice into something that's your own.

The tension is that while it's important to share and talk about your tool choices, preferences, and techniques, a person shouldn't be bull headed into believing that is the best or right way to go. Like the river I mentioned at the top, the water and the disposition of the banks is constantly shifting. It should come as no surprise that our experience with working wood changes too.

Mentioned in this episode:

Randy teaches woodworking classes at the Florida School of Woodwork.

Years ago, Randy built a whole kitchen's worth of cabinets using his Sears table saw and a molding head. This interesting tool turns a table saw into molding and joinery powerhouse. The cutterhead is fitted with three interchangeable blades to do profiles and joinery tasks.

Randy's Books: Sharpening: A Woodworker's Guide Outdoor Games Woodworking Basics

You'll also hear about Randy's side hustle as Santa.

This episode is brought to you by Shaper Tools, makers of Shaper Origin, the handheld CNC router that brings digital precision to the craft of woodworking. Tackle joinery, cabinetry, hardware installation and more with speed and precision. Try it risk-free in your shop for 30 days. Visit Shaper Tools to learn more.

Published: Sept., 3 2021
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