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6/6/2007

The Shortest Distance


The Shortest Distance
By Bob Filipczak
12/4/2001

In many ways, Dave Yoho is the woodworker's woodworker. Even though he's now a devoted craftsman, Dave fell away from the fold for a while, because he got frustrated, and then returned to us. And he's not afraid to say what scared him away from woodworking. It was a straight line. He couldn't cut one. His father could cut straight, but every time Dave tried, he got disastrous results.

He can cut straight now and is currently building furniture semi-professionally. What changed? He was moving into his second and all of his tools were packed up except a hacksaw and a Veritas flush trim saw. The carpenters left some trim for him to cut on the porch, and he had his breakthrough. He was finally able to cut straight.

He still doesn't completely trust himself, however. "I don't even mess with hand saws that much. I use power saws. Even with a circular saw, if I had to cut a straight line without a guide, I'd be in real trouble," says Dave.

Besides not being able to cut straight, Dave also epitomizes many of the other characteristics we think of as typical of the woodworking species. First off, he uses all of the proceeds from the furniture he builds for customers to buy more tools. He was bragging about his new Delta 8" jointer when we talked to him. He was also complaining about not having enough room in his shop, which is woodworker's code for "I've got so many tools in my shop now I can't even fit them in anymore." It's clear he's a tool lover.

And, like many of us, Dave just can't resist trying something new on projects. For example, he had never done any inlay but had just bought a new router bit that was ideal for the technique. He also had a mahogany end table built for a client that he thought was a little plain. So with one practice try on some plywood, Dave did inlay.

That's the way he likes to work-finding new techniques and trying them out as soon as possible. Besides straight lines, Dave isn't afraid of much. He has contemplated picking one kind of project and ramp up and go into production mode, but he's afraid he would get bored quickly.

Right now, he's not bored in the shop. Even though it's too small, there are times when he can get lost in it. Hecan be out there 12 hours without realizing it until his wife comes and fetches him. "Some days I'm too dumb to come out of there," Dave says. That was a real blessing, he admits, after the September 11 terrorist attacks. He went out to his shop and got lost in the woodworking as a way to get his mind off the news. A lot of us did.

Of course, as he works in his shop and forgets to lock the door, Dave's wife often sees what he's working on and asks him to make one of those for her, too.

(c) 2002, Woodworkers Journal. All Rights Reserved.