Monthly Archives: March 2016

As It Is Written……….


Todays blog post is an announcement of sorts.

During the last year, especially in the last six moths or so, I have felt that The Madcap Woodwright Blog has been an awesome medium to work out various thoughts and ideas I have had of late. I hope that you who read my meandering, sometimes actually sentiant, ramblings have enjoyed the experience.

Edit to say:
The Madcap Woodwright Blog will continue. It’s a bit of an addiction, so it’s not going away any time soon.

I say this because, after a good deal of thought and much hand wringing, I have decided to sit down and write a book.

Let me say right now, that I in NO WAY  would ever compare myself to Papa hemingway. Nor would I dare to proffer the notion that I am in any way the next James Krenov of the woodworking literature world.

I am writing this book for a couple of reasons.

First, I found that I have been writing a great deal about some fairly longwinded topics here on the blog. This will continue, but I wanted to divert to the book some topics that I have raised here, but wanted to explore more fully. A book seemed a logical way to do this.

Second, I wanted to write this book because…..well…..I wanted to see if I could do it. I wanted to see if I could do it and also to see if it were any good.
I am NOT doing this to make money. However, I will be self publishing it on Amazon Kindle among other digital platforms. Currently, there are no plans for hard copy versions to be printed, but if there is a demand, the platform I am using to format the manuscript allows me to create a format file that can then be used to provide “print on demand” hard copy books too……so there is that.

So far, I have an outline…see below….and a fairly solid start on my rough draft.

I am including the outline of chapters here. The working title is “The Madcap Woodwright, A Guide To Joyfully Working Wood With Abandon”.

I would welcome any comments or suggestions any of you may have after looking over the outline below.

Be advised, this outline is the roughest of drafts of the actual outline. It is more or less just an idea “sticky pad” that I am working from currently.

Please feel free to comment/suggest or share thoughts on content. No promises that it would be included in the final manuscript, but I am nothing if not shamelessly willing to take good ideas and run with them….HEE HEE….let the fun begin.

The Madcap Woodwright

A Guide To Joyfully Working Wood With Abandon

By John D. McBride



Chapter 1 – It Takes A Madcap

A) For the greater good-

B) Rethinking traditional views on design and woodworking

C) Why elitism sucks

Chapter 2 – Life Is Too Short – 3 “Rules” to joyful woodworking and life

Don’t sweat the small stuff

B)  It’s ALL small stuff

C)  Always remember  1&2

Chapter 3 – The Madcap Workshop – Observations On Creating A Happy Place.

The Tiny shop – Why Aesthetics Count



Handwork vs. Machine Work.

B)   Discover your muse, design your shop.

Chapter 4 – The Joy Of Design

Inspiration, where to find it and what to do with it

B)   Sketch, sketch, sketch!!!!

C)   Flying by the seat of your pants, and why it’s so important.

D)   The soothing of the inner anal retentive

Order of operation

Chapter 5 – Thoughts On Success and Failure.

Reexamining and redefining

B)   Progress, not perfection, freedom to make mistakes

C)   It’s not a mistake, till’ it can’t be fixed….It can always be fixed.

D) If you are not making any mistakes, you are not doing anything.

Chapter 6 – Bizarro Economy, The Madcap Woodwright’s Natural Habitat.

How an Arts and Crafts Revival might save the world

B)   Build it, and they just might come

C)   Defining value

Chapter 7 – More Than Madcap / Expanding Into The Community.

Responsible craftsmanship

B)   Find your tribe

C)   Thoughts on pragmatism, and why it’s overrated.

Chapter 8 – Moment By Moment / Mindful Woodworking

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Springtime In The Rockies


Spring has indeed sprung here in Colorado. Yesterday, the sun was bright and the temperature was north of 70 degrees.

The above picture is of the view out my back door. The back deck has protection from most wind, so the accumulation of snow is fairly “drift” free. You can see that there has been plenty of snow deposited on us.

This has made for a perfect day to fire up the propane heater, and turn up the music, and wile away the hours working wood.  That is, if I could get out to the Tiny Shop AND feel comfortable about actually being able to get back to the house….a full 20 feet away.

The next best thing I can do is surf the net, look for inspiration, sketch a few drawings, and do a bit of blogging.

I have been spending a good deal of time hunting down equipment, running power to the shop, doing everything I can to be as thorough, thoughtful , and focused in my choices. I took great care to make sure that the equipment I put into the Tiny Shop is of the highest quality, highest accuracy, and also providing the maximum amount of flexibility in  my choices of what to build. In all, so far, I think I have done well.

So, with a few tweaks, and the addition of some odds and ends, the majority of outfitting The Tiny Shop is done.

I have high hopes for such a small shop. I look forward to finally putting design on paper. Turning sketches to prototypes, and prototypes turned into finished projects.

I admit, i have been guilty of the same sickness that most woodworkers suffer from , tool-shopping-itis. I sure do love to shop for tools. I have admitted as much repeatedly here. But it has been so satisfying to make some saw dust in The Tiny Shop. No original pieces yet, but some light restoration work and various small projects for friends have all helped me get work flow figured out in the shop, and also helped to get tooling adjusted and refined.

So then, with all the effort spent equipping and adjusting, it would make sense to think that there might be some designs ready to be cut out and built…right?
Alas, I have been sorely remiss.

I think I have mentioned my seeming psychological stumbling block when it comes to actually sitting down to flesh out design ideas. Maybe it’s not good enough, maybe it wont work, maybe its function wont work with the limitations of the medium of wood. I sometimes find it easier to sit down and power through a case of writer’s block than to put pencil to paper and sketch out various designs.

It’s a goal to get several designs sketched out and rough dimensions assigned to them. The designs will need to be able to be worked through taking the limitations of The Tiny Shop into consideration. I can’t attempt to work through a design for an oversized  wall unit in a space like The Tiny Shop. Small tables, small chests of drawers, chairs, buffets, bookcases, all are doable in addition to smaller projects like hi-fi speakers.

It’s all about actually getting some ideas on paper, I know. I know that once the initial ideas are sketched out, worst case, I can sort of “improvise” my way through the initial build of the projects. No matter what, I really do need to get sketching.

The up side is that even if I start making things up as I go along, at least I am making more saw dust in The Tiny Shop.

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