Question: How long does it take to become a competent Chicago woodworker?
Answer: This question is an interesting one because, on its face, it can be answered a few different ways. Just like any other subject, Chicago woodworking can be learned but only if you are willing to put in the time and steps to do so.
First off, just because you assisted your grandpa in putting up a fence does not put you into the experience category. It’s nice that you have a warm memory of your experience, but woodworking and furniture building takes a lot more time to than that to learn to do properly.
There are many topics you will need to familiarize yourself with just to even start down the road to making a quality piece of furniture, starting with the huge safety issue. Chicago woodworking, unfortunately, has a built-in safety hazard that always needs to be addressed. Learning the proper way to use the tools you will be using will start to help you to be safer.
There is a great deal of fundamental knowledge you will have to also conquer, such as understanding engineering (how to construct a solid piece of furniture so it will not fall apart). You also must be able to design the piece so it looks aesthetically pleasing.
Other topics, for example, include knowing how to make your own tools for making certain kinds of cuts –– these tools are commonly referred to as fixtures and jigs.
There are many more topics we could list and address, but getting back to the basic question of how long it takes to learn furniture building? It’s a difficult question to answer in terms of days and weeks, but there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to approach the subject. If you take your time to learn all of the important topics, you will probably get better faster than if your attitude is “I can learn all this in no time.”