The Woodworker's Maze


Dear Visitor,
Many years ago a prospective employer at a production shop gave me a test to determine what I really knew about woodworking. It was about three pages long and took about half an hour to complete. After it was scored, it was revealed that I had answered all the questions correctly. As a reward I was given the best job in the factory, building what little custom work we received and all of the prototypes. I also became the shop's millwright, installing and repairing all the shop's machinery. It was heaven.

After learning a little about the web, it dawned on me how a similar test could be fashioned for cyberspace; only without all the pressures it would have on anyone's livelihood. I hope this test will challenge and inform, stimulate and entertain and- of course- separate the experts from the wannabes.

Jim Mattson

What's the purpose of the Maze?

The purpose of the Maze is to get people to think about woodworking, and possibly learn something along the way. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to recognize those woodworkers who have made it through!

How does this work?

To start the maze, click on the sign "Enter New Maze" from the Maze page to go to the first question. The Old Maze is the one from last month which has the answers highlighted to the end. All the questions are either multiple choice or true/false so you don't have to be able to type fast - just click on the correct answer which is a link to the next question.

How many questions are there?

Right now, there are over a hundred. Or are there two hundred? One hint, you can get through the Maze by answering less than 20 questions correctly.

What happens if I get them all right?

There are two parts to the Maze. The first part you can negotiate at your leisure. The second part is timed. If you complete both parts successfully, follow the directions for getting your name in the Hall of Fame (if you want...:)

What happens if I miss an answer?

1) Nothing bad. No one will call you names or even know it happened. No scores are tabulated, no one is watching. I have no way of monitoring anyone's progress through the Maze. You can miss as many questions as you like without any penalty. In fact, some people purposely miss questions to explore the Maze further.

2) Just as in a real maze, you won't know exactly where you've missed an answer (made a wrong turn) until you've answered one or several more questions (hit a dead end). At that point you have to go back and try to pick up the trail. You can do that by hitting the back button at the top of the browser or you can bookmark the first question and start over. (If you think you're too far gone)

If you aren't sure about an answer, you can bookmark that page also, as it's likely if you hit a dead end, that page is the culprit.

Very important: you can miss a question, get one or more right, then hit a dead end.

If you find yourself going in circles, you've missed at least two questions. More hints than this I cannot reveal.

Will I be able to study for the Maze?

The questions in the first part of the Maze are based on the general knowledge experienced woodworkers gain from building a variety of pieces over several years. It's about hand and power tools, various woods, techniques, and in some places, the history of woodworking.If you have trouble, take your woodworking books with you; if you want to look up an answer, that's great. The ability to find answers to problems is valuable to any woodworker. You can also bookmark a page and come back to it anytime to resume the Maze.

There won't be time to study for the second part of the Maze.

What should I do if I keep hitting dead ends?

#1) Don't sweat it; the Maze is hard! If you don't see Norm's name in the Woodworker's Maze Hall of Fame, it's not because he hasn't been invited!

#2) There are no BORN woodworkers. Besides, getting lost in the Maze is not an indication you can't build fine furniture. Some of the worst woodworking I've ever seen came from a high-school woodshop teacher who would probably think the Maze is easy. (He was also one of my favorite instructors.)

#3) It could be you ran into questions which didn't pertain to your particular woodworking interests. It only takes one false step to find a dead end. Coming back after the Maze changes might make a world of difference.


Good Luck! We're all pulling for you.


Back To the Maze!