The Craft, Art, and Journey of Woodworking, According to a Master Craftsman

podcast woodworking
Dominik Scythe

For this week’s episode of Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Manual Podcast, the round-table — managing editor Nicole Raney and host Greg Nibler — sit down with Gary Rogowski, the director of The Northwest Woodworking Studio in Portland, Oregon.

Rogowski has been building furniture by hand and teaching others his trade since the 1970s. He has literally written the book (and led the class and hosted the podcast) on the subject of woodworking. What was once a necessary skill is now one of the most satisfying and badass hobbies of modern times. Need a new chair? Make it. Want a sweet bar to hold all your booze? Craft it yourself.

But what does it really mean to work with wood? This art form must also be functional. Rogowski gives us a sweeping overview of the craft, from the predominant styles, his own inspiration, the common questions you must answer for yourself, and the two major paths in woodworking: creating as a hobby or creating as a career. He may have also shared some handy tips with Greg, who may or may not be looking to make some new benches.

Interested in getting into woodworking? Do you want to understand what it really takes? Are you searching for a sense of satisfaction from working with your hands?

If you ever have a question or comment for The Manual podcast folks, give us a shout at — we’re always around! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to join the discussion.

If you’re interested in learning under Rogowski, you can learn more about classes and mastery programs (he can even teach from a distance!) at The Northwest Woodworking Studio website. We also suggest reading his most recent book, Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction. Rogowski will also be at a discussion at Powell’s in Portland on May 29.

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