It's Never Too Late For Woodworking

Get Woodworking Week may be over, but don’t tell John.

John is an 80 year old Korean war veteran who I’ve come to know because he wants to learn woodworking. While you’d be right to ask yourself why a one-eyed octogenarian who needs a walker is interested in learning a craft he currently knows nothing about, his reasoning turns out to be the same as many of us. John want’s to learn to woodwork because he needs a table for his computer and can’t find the right one commercially.

John and I spent the afternoon in my shop where we discussed the basic table he plans to build and the method of building it. We went from hand cut mortise and tenons to routed floating tenons to pocket screws.
This joint is OK.
I know that while steering someone from a hand cut mortise and tenon to a pocket screw may be blasphemous to some, I was happy to do it.

This joint works too.
It’s not that I want John to be a power tool woodworker who only uses steel fasteners. It’s that I want John to be a woodworker. As he’s never built anything, I think jumping right into a table build with eight (8) hand cut mortise and tenons would be enough to turn anyone away in frustration. I stressed to John that as much as he’s eager to learn and practice joinery, it was also important to actually building something. The satisfaction and pride of actually building a pocket hole joined table will certainly nurture his love of woodworking more than the frustration of a table that won’t assemble because of miscut tenons.
Just be sure it ends in something like this.
I say this often because I feel it’s important. It is not about how you build something. It’s about that you do building something. Start small and simply. Let your first few projects succeed. Then, once you’ve learned the basics let your interest take you to any style of joinery method you choose.
Or like this. The important thing is to just build.