Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/meshel/archive/2006/02/02/67949.aspx
I haven't posted in a long time, I can't really say why exactly, I've been blogging for a few years now (mostly in other places and on different subjects), and I noticed that it comes in waves.
There are no definite clues to when an additional wave will come. Suddenly I feel the urge to write to the world (even though not that many people read what I write), but it feels good to let it out even if it's not steam. So I'm back for now.
What I'm writing about today is my semi-new hobby, wood-working, and the more recent addition wood-turning. just last year I got interested in the subject and took a course with one of the leading turners in Israel - Eli Avisera (the site is about to go through an upgrade I hope). He was excellent at passing knowledge and sense of the art, and tought us all the basics. You would not believe how much there is to learn in this profesion. What I trully like about it is that it allows you to create without being overly creative. I can't explain that realy, you have to experience it. Since the work is mostly freehand, and not limited by any rigid constraints (you hold the chisel/gauge/... in your hands and it is not attached to any mechanical holder), the work does require some physical effort but not much since the actuall grunt work is done by the lathe (spining the wood for you) - you get to focus on the shape and character of what you are trying to do - obviously there is technique involved but it doesn't usualy inhibit you from doing what you want - and the sky is the limit for what you can do and achieve. I'm still begining at this so I won't claim to be anyting - just having a lot of fun in my little plastic shed.
One thing I can say, I did delay finding an active hobby (as opposed to passive hobbies such as reading and listening to music). I always knew what I wanted (wood, working with my hands) but never went ahead and actually did it. Now I'm happy that I finally did go and actively worked at it. I recommend to everyone to find yourself such a hobby - it is the best way to spend your money :-) but mostly it is a retreat from the absorbing life of software - something real that you can touch (unless you are in robotics). BTW turning can be an expensive or a very cheap hobby - depending on many factors of course, and your specific flavor.
The things you really need are a lathe, and some tools, a basic set of three will do for most needs - all the rest is optional but could come in very handy. Why is it for geeks? well like almost any not completly explored subject, there is a lot to improve on and to invent - and always learn something new. Not to mention that once you get into woodturning most people almost immediately start to dabble in metal-turning and metal-spining and other close areas.
http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com - Craft Supplies - a big online store (Has the most stuff)