Dec 302015
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Welcome to our 2016 Woodworking Resolutions blogger series. Every year we invite our bloggers to share their resolutions specific to their woodworking goals for the new year. Click each link below to read our bloggers’ resolutions!

Wow, this year we must have bypassed at least 3 months, as it doesn’t seem possible we are about to change the date on all the checks we write. Umm, you do remember those little pieces of paper that changed value just by what we wrote on it? If not, welcome, as you are part of the new woodworking generation.

Before I dive into my resolutions for 2016, I’ll give a quick overview of how I did in 2015. I knocked it out of the park regarding staying healthy and exercising regularly, which leads into upgrading my workbench. I bought some huge Soft Maple boards (16’ and two 14’, all just under 9” wide, and 3 ½” thick), which I cut down to size and moved myself, which may have been asking too much last year. I also rebuilt my Moxon vise with BenchCrafted hardware. Talk about sweet! I’ve also increased storage, and am looking to add more for some of my hand tools. So, #5 is really the only one that I’ve yet to accomplish, but should always be in my mind.

So, lets get at the new ones for 2016:

  1. Be Healthy and exercise regularly – This is one of those resolutions that many people, woodworker or not, tend to say just before they tip the glass of Champagne at Midnight, but the reality is working at this proactively is much better than trying to get back where you once were. I will continue to ride my bike, use my Total Gym, track my walking and other exercise related activities, separate from my regular woodworking, even though some of the work is somewhat rigorous. I hope everyone reading this will take this resolution seriously.
  1. Complete workbench rebuild – I have a BenchCrafted tail vise that has a fair amount of dust on its box, but that should change early in 2016. As I was re-reading the installation instruction, I even came up with what may prove to be a more efficient (though it could potentially be slightly tedious) plan. I’m going to test my plan, using some junk wood, to make sure there are no down-sides before potentially wasting half a bench top’s worth of Soft Maple.
  1. Continue Shop organization – This is another of those resolutions that I know I’ve been guilty of not performing regularly enough, and since I’ve completed some of my tool storage solutions, I’ve been much more efficient. It is so much easier to have a place for a tool, and keep it where it belongs, both reducing clutter and speed of retrieving. A life long job.
  1. Refresh Turning Skills – Since my back surgeries, I haven’t felt great standing stationary for a long time, which has kept me away from turning. I have two fairly thick rubber mats (one on top of the other) in front of my workbench, and I’ve noticed I don’t hurt after standing there for a decent time. I plan to get two more mats that will live by my lathe, and get the feel of turning fresh in my hands again.
  1. Hone Chair Making Skills – I’ve not yet made any chairs, but I’d like to add this skill to my always-growing repertoire. A number of family members have asked me in the past, if I could make them a couple of chairs. I love learning new aspects to the woodworking craft, and will likely self-study this year, and look to formal teaching next year.

These resolutions are attainable, and I hope they may also resonate, and we all have an even better 2016.

Lee Laird has enjoyed woodworking for over 25 years. He is retired from the U.S.P.S. and worked for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks as a show staff member, demonstrating tools and training customers. You can email him at or follow him on Twitter at

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