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My job ... teaching people how to work on motorcycles and outboards. Mostly, I concentrate on understanding the theory of operation. If you understand how things work, then figuring out why it's not working is a cinch.

I'm fairly new to serious/more-than-a-hobby woodworking, I'm finding the same principles apply. Understanding the tools lets you use them more effectively. Understanding the wood and how it responds to tools allows you to work it more satisfyingly.

I'm too new to teach anything about it.
 

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something that you are good at, and possibly not a common skill (like driving a nail in straight),
what would it be ?? (woodworking & carpentry related, please).
Learn from everyone you work with. Some will teach you what to do, some may teach you what to never do. All will teach you.
 

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Ancient Termite
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1,013 Posts
Actually there are two things.

R T F M

No alcohol in the shop.
If you even start thinking about alcohol, just close up the shop, go inside, relax and enjoy.
 

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This may sound silly but teaching my daughters how to read a tape measure, I get calls I need a board, how long? 12" and 3 ticks. What is a tick?, is it a big tick, medium tick, or a really small tick?. Also simple math regarding fractions, one daughter who would like to do stuff in my shop, I told her she would have to pass a written test in math, she failed many times, her response was that she would just keep cutting until it fits. It amazes me how bad kids are at math now a days. Being a structural steel designer I can do metric, fractions, decimal fractions, and decimal feet in my head. An example; lets say a cashier rings you up and you show them a $20 bill, then say wait take the 20 back, and give them $14.36, almost every time they give you a blank stare and they are lost.
 

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..................I did have quite a few people last year wanting me to teach woodworking in my shop, but I had to pass because the liabilities would wipe me out if some fool badly injured themselves or even just slightly.. ............
Don't live in fear.
Insurance should take care of that.
Check with your insurance company. You may be covered for more than you think.
If you dont have any, then fear is justifiable.
 
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where's my table saw?
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This may sound silly but teaching my daughters how to read a tape measure, I get calls I need a board, how long? 12" and 3 ticks. What is a tick?, is it a big tick, medium tick, or a really small tick?. Also simple math regarding fractions, one daughter who would like to do stuff in my shop, I told her she would have to pass a written test in math, she failed many times, her response was that she would just keep cutting until it fits. It amazes me how bad kids are at math now a days. Being a structural steel designer I can do metric, fractions, decimal fractions, and decimal feet in my head. An example; lets say a cashier rings you up and you show them a $20 bill, then say wait take the 20 back, and give them $14.36, almost every time they give you a blank stare and they are lost.
Kids today don't do fractions possibly because teachers don't know how to do them either and it's not part of the approved curriculum like decimals? I also grew up using fractions, tenths, an decimals in the auto design field. It was easy enough, and with using your favorite pumpkin pie as an example. "Do you want a 1/4 size piece?" Back then, clock faces were divided into 12 sections because there were 12 hours in the AM and 12 in the PM and that meant there were there were 3 sections in a quarter! Now days all the time displays on the smart phones and watches are digital, not analog. No small wonder kids are confused by all these different systems. My son was around 20 years old when he started using a tape measure to build things around the house. He had worked fo r5 years as an auto mechanic and knew about 1/2" and 3/4" nuts and bolts and Metric sizes 13 mm and 21 mm. He never had to measure a board for a book shelf for his room and didn't understand what all those small and medium size marks were! ..... Amazing! I remember using a slide rule in Trig class in high school, Keuffel and Esser, was the brand name if I recall?
 

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I am incredibly impressed with the various responses above. Each and every one of them is "homespun wisdom"; the voice of long, hard-won experience. I could put a "Like" on each and every one of them, but it isn't necessary.

I like this response the best:

When to walk away
 

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Egg Spurt
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I think that with someone who doesn't so much as own a basic screwdriver and wants to start building things I'd start them out with hand tools until they could demonstrate how to read a tape and mark things correctly, how to chop, saw, use a plane, etc. Even smaller, less expensive power tools cause an ungodly number of serious injuries every day. I've seen people drill holes in their hands holding a board from the opposite side of the board..forget circular saws. Learn how to not hurt yourself right off the bat and move on to bigger things..
 

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Some really good advice here!

My addition:
Stop looking at the table saw's spinning blade. It knows what it has to do without you watching over it. Plan your cut, plan your safety, and look at your hand-placement. The blade will do its work without your observation.
 

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Ancient Termite
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A.J. Interesting. . . . .

An instructor at school said to "Watch the fence". As in no gap between the work and the fence. That alone has saved me more fingers than I have.
 

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I've been a teacher for nearly 30 years and this is what I have learned. No one can teach you...you have to learn. Others just provide the opportunity for you to do that.

In the words of Wendell Berry, "The best teachers teach more than they know." It takes a good student for that to happen.
 

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That Guy
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I've built some pretty good workbenches. 4x4 legs, mitered 2x6 rim joists etc etc. Very sturdy and durable (I've put engine blocks on them).

I could teach how to do this to someone with basic skills/tools and desire to learn and they would have a good platform to build other things on.

I guess that's not an uncommon skill but I see guys all the time working on picnic tables old countertops and the floor and I wonder why they didn't build a workbench first?
 

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I've built some pretty good workbenches. 4x4 legs, mitered 2x6 rim joists etc etc. Very sturdy and durable (I've put engine blocks on them).

I could teach how to do this to someone with basic skills/tools and desire to learn and they would have a good platform to build other things on.

I guess that's not an uncommon skill but I see guys all the time working on picnic tables old countertops and the floor and I wonder why they didn't build a workbench first?
I never was good at working on the basement floor. Needed 2 benches of 2x6. 96" long x 30" wide. Now, we do business. Used the screen door as my square (and it was!).

I needed you 20 years back. I keep thinking that better-looking benches might be better working benches.
Now I carve mostly western red cedar.
 
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