Becoming a Master

As an amateur woodworker, I’ve made many drawers. Each drawer is a project in itself. It needs to be near-perfect in order to work properly, but the work can be very repetitive, since you seldom make just one. Moreover, nobody appreciates the time and effort that goes into a well-crafted door.  Drawers are the bane of most woodworkers!

As you work on drawer after drawer, boredom sets in.  You lose your enthusiasm for the project.  You lose your sense of creativity and craftsmanship.  All you care about is getting the damn drawers done.

And it shows.  The person who would never have noticed a neat set of perfect drawers will certainly notice a drawer that is slightly misaligned, or one that doesn’t slide smoothly.  More importantly, you will know that the work is less than it could have been.

But it needn’t be that way.  When working on drawers, don’t think about them.  Don’t think about the finished cabinet.  Don’t think about the project at all.  Instead, focus on each step. Make each dovetail cut as perfect as it can be.  Make each board planed as smooth and even as you can possible make it.

In the end, the drawers will work perfectly, and the cabinet will be beautiful…  and only you will know the effort that went into it.

If you want to be a master cabinet maker, stop thinking about cabinets.  Make lots of drawers.