Canadian Woodworking

Project vs. technique articles: a solution and some little libraries

Blog by Rob Brown
Techniques in Project Articles

Last week I asked for your thoughts on project vs. technique articles. I’m pleased to say I got a lot of great feedback. The consensus was that you like both.

A good solution

Project articles are appreciated not only for the plans to make that specific project, but also for the techniques and approaches to building furniture that are picked up while reading through an article. Technique articles are enjoyed because they allow the reader to take a deep dive into a specific technique and learn the skills to start to master that aspect of woodworking and furniture making.

Many of you also suggested that technique tips could be added to project articles in the form of a either a sidebar or even a bit more description within the body of the article. That’s a fair point and one that’s easy to do. For example, an article about a dining table could feature a sidebar on how to properly edge-glue solid wood lumber, how to attach a solid wood tabletop to a base so it’s allowed to move with the seasons, or tips on how to taper legs.

I’ll start to incorporate this approach into upcoming project articles, as well as include the occasional technique-based articles.  Thanks for your thoughts!

Techniques in Project Articles

Many readers would like to see specific techniques highlighted within project articles. I think this is a great idea. This was a process image in a project article in our Aug/Sept issue, but it could also be used to showcase how dovetails should be cut.

Techniques in Project Articles

Little libraries

I notice a lot of tiny libraries, sometimes called little free libraries. Having visited many little libraries with my kids and also running an article on how to build a little library in 2016. I think I’m drawn to them for many reasons. In that same issue I also ran an article about the little library movement in general.

First off, they provide a small community attraction and destination. Getting outside, no matter the season, is good. These little libraries also allow us to meet more of our neighbours. On top of these reasons, getting a free book is always great. And the woodworker in me always thinks these libraries are a great way to show off your woodworking and creativity skills.

I came across a few libraries while exploring Coburg, Ont., on bike the other day. They had a slightly different twist to them. One was, in fact, two libraries: One for kids’ books and magazines, and one for all sorts of other books and magazines. Having two would likely help both kids and adults find the right books, and also encourage more donations in each category.

The other little library I came across was designed much differently than any other I’ve seen. While I didn’t get a chance to talk to the maker about what inspired them to design, I’m sure their love of trains was behind it. It looked like a train car on top of a set of tracks, all sitting on top of what looked to be a trestle bridge. I’m guessing that little library has started many conversations about trains.

Closer to home

Just up the road from my place was a little library the local Lions Club installed on their lawn. It was a  standard design, but that didn’t stop visitors from frequenting the property to see what was new. Back in May, when we had a big storm (called a derecho) sweep through Peterborough, a few maple trees knocked down the Lions Club little library. Cleanup from the storm took a long time, and there are many fallen trees still in city parks.

The other day I walked by the Lions Club and noticed a very large, spanking new library on the old post. It’s hard to call this one little, as it’s probably at least twice, maybe three times, larger than the typical little library. Obviously, the larger size is a testament to how well-used the old library was, and the fact that it was sometimes too full to close the door. It’s great to see it being used by people of all ages and walks of life again.

Two for One

Having separate little libraries for kids and adults is a great idea. I liked the Scrabble tiles affixed to the perimeter of the door on the the adult library.

Two for One

All Aboard!

Inspired by a train, this little library is sure to be a conversation starter.

All Aboard!

Storm Damage

This is a local little library in Peterborough a day after a storm went through town in May. Fallen trees brought it to the ground.

Storm Damage

Back Stronger Than Ever

This is the same location, but a new, improved little library. Maybe we need to coin a new term: “Large Little Library.”

free book library
Last modified: September 30, 2022

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches

1 comment

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  2. Killaloe Station, ON, has the most interesting “little” library I’ve ever seen, but I can’t get it into this message.

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