Note that this article is subject to change
My guides have been built around the idea of comprehensive understanding and doing drills for a while now. The best example of this has been my rigging guide, that encourages several techniques that are meant to build up skills to be used later. In this guide, I will describe the process of how to learn carpentry as explicitly as possible.
Everything relies on a fundamental understanding of how the puzzle mechanics work. This first step is designed for you to develop an awareness of how much you know.
Exercise Objective: Develop your understanding of the puzzle mechanics
In three minutes, write down a brief description of carpentry puzzle controls. It doesn't need to be an in depth explanation, a bullet pointed list of the main ideas is fine. For example, it might contain 'you fiddle with the wheel thingie-mi-bob whatsit on the mouse to rotate the pieces'. Use a timing device to make sure that you don't spend too long on this.
Most of you will fall into the category of not even knowing what I mean by puzzle mechanics. If that's the case, take a brief look at the wiki page for carpentry.
If you can recall lots of detail, that means that you have a good deep understanding of the puzzle, this is good.
If you find that you can recognize most of the ideas on the wiki page, but are unable to come up with them on your own then this probably means that you have a shallow understanding of the puzzle mechanics. If you do the drills and exercises in this guide, then this understanding will develop as you go through.
If you learn best by doing something, then open up the wiki page and the carpentry puzzle and experiment with each mechanic to get a deeper understanding of it. If you prefer to see it being done, I'll be putting up some videos on the basic puzzle mechanics to support this guide soon.
It can be very tempting to skip this practice and just go onto the next part of the guide, but this practice is what is going to help improve your rank.
Exercise Objective: Develop awareness of your scoring knowledge
The next step in improving at carpentry is getting a solid grasp of the scoring of the puzzle. The first step as before, is to spend three minutes writing what you know about the scoring of the puzzle. What are the things that affect the score? Again, use a timing device to make sure that you don't spend to long on this. Remember that this is meant to make you more aware of what you know or don't know, don't feel pressured.
There are lots of things that affect the scoring, the most important things that you should know if you don't already are that your speed affects your score, the number of pieces that overlap affect your score and completing a hole with no overlapping pieces results in a masterpiece, which gives you a good bonus and these master pieces can be chained together for an even bigger bonus.
Objective: Get an understanding of how speed affects your score
The best way to see that speed affects your scoring, is to use the starting puzzle on a pirate that hasn't played carpentry before, the one where you get given a three-piece hole that you can easily make into a master piece. Try placing the first piece, and then waiting a minute before placing the second and another minute before placing the third and see what happens to the hammer. If this doesn't convince you, then experiment with playing fast and slow and see how it affects the hammer.
The aim of this guide will be to create master pieces and to improve your speed, these two things however will be done separately. So when you are doing drills to improve your master pieces, you don't need to worry about your speed. Similarly, when you are improving your speed, you don't need to worry about your master pieces.
Once you feel that you have a good grasp of what affects your score in carpentry by completing these exercises, you can go on to the next step.
One of the most important things to understand and embrace is that the learning process is not linear, meaning you don't gradually improve bit by bit. Every time that you try something new and experiment, you will get worse for a time. If you are worried about the short term rewards of how your duty report looks and your rank, then you will struggle to concentrate on improving your actual skill.
Objective: Learn to ignore your rank and duty report in favour of improving your skills
Log on to your main pirate and play the carpentry puzzle in an ad-hoc manner. Don't care about your rank or your score, just put pieces anywhere and don't try to repair your stats afterwards. The most important thing in practicing carpentry is to be focused on improving the skills that I will show you in this guide, which will make your carpentry skills worse before they improve. If you are focused on keeping your stats nice and pretty, then you won't be committed to changing your ways and improving your skill.
Not everyone will be comfortable with this idea, and it is your choice whether you do it or not. To really succeed with this guide though, I would highly recommend giving it a try and adopting the philosophy of long term growth rather than immediate reward.
Follow all the exercises.
Lots of sports encourage you to do various drills to improve your skills, learning puzzles is no exception. The next step is to try a few of these drills to improve your skills
Objective: Learn piece rarity
Different pieces come more often than others and it's important to learn what the different piece rarities are without having to look it up.
Take a look at Hawking's Carpentry guide and read the section on piece rarity. Once you get the general idea, open up the carpentry puzzle. Where the chat is, there is also a tutorials tab, including a small section on piece rarity that you can use while you are doing this drill to help you along.
Now for the actual drill itself. You have four categories, as described on the page linked above: common, uncommon, unreliable and rare. You also have four holes on your carpentry board. What I want you to do, is place all of the common pieces in one hole, all the uncommon pieces in a second and so on. Don't worry about your score, just concentrate on learning the piece rarity. You will have to refer to the guide at first to remember what pieces are in which category, but eventually you should be able to do it without looking.
Try the drill. Remember that this isn't a one off thing, you should practice these until they feel comfortable.
More steps will be written soon, click here to sign up for updates to this guide.