Life Lesson from Woodburning

People often do things in their spare time that they enjoy. Most would call that a hobby. For the past four years, I have found joy in something called woodburning, and it has taught me the lesson of patience. 

Woodburning is a type of art that uses a tool, much like a pen, heated up to burn a piece of wood to create a picture. Grandpa Moody was the one who taught me four years ago. To create a woodburning project, for example, you first take a piece of wood and draw or trace the image you would like to create. Next, you’ll use the wood burner to go over the image on the wood. As a result, this technique can make beautiful art.     

I started woodburning when I was in sixth grade. Grandpa Moody showed some of his woodburning projects, and they were really cool. I saw the pictures he had done and just thought how great it would be if I could make things like that. So I signed up for the class, and I couldn’t wait until we started. On the first day, Grandpa Moody walked us through the whole process. He started the class by having us draw pictures and write our names on a piece of wood. I wanted to just jump in on a complex project, but I allowed myself to wait because I knew I needed to learn how to do it first. I was starting to get the hang of it. After a few weeks, we began to do some more exciting things.

After completing the first year of woodburning, I thought I would like to do it again and complete more projects. But there was one problem for me: honestly, I just wanted the finished product to show my family. 

“Uhg, I keep messing up on this woodburning!” I said to Grandpa.

He responded, “Why do you think you keep messing up?” 

“I don’t know, but I just want to get this thing done,” I answered, frustrated.

Grandpa laughed and said, “Why don’t you try slowing down? It might help in a lot more ways than you think.”

When I slowed down and concentrated on my project, I saw a huge improvement in everything I did. Everything looked so good. I still didn’t like going slow, but I realized the activity was a process, and going slower would help me in the long run.

Every year that I have been able to, I’ve signed up for the woodburning 4-Him class. I love the things I can make. By the third year, Grandpa had me doing some cool yet complicated designs!  

One day Grandpa walked over to me and said, “Hey Noah, I think you are ready for some of the harder things I have planned for you.”

“Really? What type of things? In what ways are they harder?” I replied, kind of confused. 

He walked me over to the desk that held all of the pictures. After that, he showed me some of them and said, “Some of these require better attention to detail, and others are just bigger. Most of them are a combination of both. I know you can do it. All it takes is time.”

Consequently, I started working on some more challenging projects, and I felt an increasing sense of pride. These projects were much bigger and more complicated than any of the others I had done. At Hilltop, we get to show off the work that we had competed in the class, and one time, I even sold a project to a guy who liked my work. I enjoy woodburning because it doesn’t require artistic ability, just patience to make a fantastic piece of art.

Some of Noah’s favorite pieces he’s created. Notice the detail, the shading, different colorations in these complex pieces

Woodburning is something people can enjoy in their spare time or can do to make a living. It doesn’t take long at all to set up, and it takes very little artistic skill. I’ve made some pretty cool creations in woodburning, even though I’m terrible at drawing. My favorite part about wood burning is the sense of pride I get after I finish the picture. It’s kind of like life: it takes patience and practice to get it right, but it’s worth it!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Noah is a 2023 graduate. In addition to woodburning, he enjoys playing basketball, hunting, and welding.