Before January of 2018 I hadn’t set foot inside of a wood shop since 2001, in my 6th grade intro class. We made the beauty you see pictured above in that short course, along with a small whistle and cutting board. At the time I enjoyed the class, and I find myself looking back on the experience in an increasingly positive light.

My schooling and career have taken me deeper into the fascinating world of software. I call myself a ‘software engineer’, but engineer is a bit of a misnomer. I do ‘engineer’ in the sense that I need to design the software I write to be architecturally sound, maintainable, and it needs to accomplish tasks successfully. But the entire reason my job as a software engineer exists is because digital computers are multi-purpose machines. I have to obey the physical bounds of the computer, but there are very few times where I am actually limited by physics or practicality. In many ways software engineering is more art than engineering.

Woodworking is different. If you mess up when building a chair, people don’t call it a ‘buggy chair’. They call it useless and throw it away. It’s a refreshing change from the human-made challenges I overcome with software. After 10 weeks of class a small table was born:


The class is woodworking 1 through Palo Alto Adult School. It was a great experience, and the instructors were knowledgable and helpful. The project was simple and approachable, but still challenging for newbies (special thanks to my sister who made a freaking 3D model for me!).

If you are thinking of picking up a new (and useful) hobby, give your local woodworking class a try.