In woodworking, the hook for me is in the details. Using handtools—where I'm refining a joint with chisels, carving, doing inlay, chamfering an edge with a block plane—is always the highlight.
The tasks leading up to and following that point can be fun, so-so, or even disagreeable. Non-woodworkers might find it odd to hear a woodworker admit that there are fundamentals of the craft that, in some cases, are most egregious.
Glue-ups for example. I dread them. Countless hours spent building a piece can be wasted with one mishap.
And finishing. Don't get me started. ew.
Bandsawing—fun. Sharpening—pleasant. Using a hewing axe—brilliant.
But there might be more than one hook. For me, it's the pre-woodworking part—the decisions made in size, dimension, design, joinery, developing a cut list, and order of construction.
I've been working on a design for a Swiss army knife of a shaving horse that can be used for shaping, carving, and hewing. It will have several attachments and can be broken down for transport. The brainstorming has been a blast.
But before I can get to the fun parts of construction, I have to mill a bunch of boards, and not one of them is square. Truing crooked, warped, and cupped boards is far from being a hook in my book. Alas, we take the great with the not-so-great. It's all part of the arrangement.