When you do “knowledge work” for a living, there’s an inherent frustration in not creating something concrete from your efforts. Negotiating a case, reading cases to prepare a brief or a motion, appearing in court, all of these things have value to a client, but the value does not manifest itself as a thing you can touch and feel. Matthew B. Crawford explores this concept in eloquent detail in Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, a book Mark Bennett recommended I read and I, in turn, recommend you read.
One of the ways to get that feeling of accomplishment, of making a “thing,” is having a hobby where you make stuff. I built a workbench so I could have a place to do woodworking. The first project I wanted to build, a simple tic-tac-toe shelf from Spike Carlsen’s book, Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects: Great Looking Furniture Anyone Can Build, is done now.
The completion of the project is shown in pictures below. Total time was probably 3-4 hours, with gaps for the finish to dry. All that was required was a 1″ x 6″ x 8′ hardwood board (I used poplar).
The raw plank: