How did you come to be in woodworking?

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On 24 Jan 2004 09:48:57 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@swt.edu (Conan the Librarian) brought forth from the murky depths:

24x40" 6/4 Jarrah top & 1x6 rails.
Popular (however the rec.norm spelling goes) 2x2 legs.
Tilting top, bench pups, staggered (6") 3/4" holes. I'll work out the tilt mechanism when I get there and have had a chance to see how much sturdiness I need.
I have an idea for a removable sandbox weight and will show that to you once it's done. I figure if I make it easy to remove/install, the bench will be easier to move out of the way of my wood stack when necessary.
I've wanted to do some relief carving for a long while and will finally start this year. (Promise!) My best inspiration was the Mt. Fuji scene over the fireplace in the Gamble House. The side scenes were nice, too.

I kinda liked that doghole mounted carving vise in one of the mags last year (2?), I think FWW. And I really liked that carving bench in Landis' "Workbench Book", kwim,v?
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I like that idea. Maybe rig something like they use for drafting tables.

I'll file that statement away for future reference, Lar. :-)

Hmmm ... I don't remember seeing that, but that's what I was thinking about doing as well. I just have to verify that my dogholes are spaced uniformly enough to work. :-)

Ayup. But it might be overkill for me. I do a carving project about every third or fourth one. Wait a sec ... that means I would use it even more than you, Lar.
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) Heh. :-)
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On 25 Jan 2004 11:37:03 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@swt.edu (Conan the Librarian) brought forth from the murky depths:

Of that I have absolutely no doubt. ;)

So much for my memory. June 2000, on page 18 of FWW was a _shoulder_ vise.

You might have to switch to 1/2" dowels, eh? <tsk tsk tsk> That's whatcha get for using jummyjunk, erm, pineywood, son.

Pffffft!
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(Conan the Librarian)

Er, no ... the reason I'm uncertain about the spacing being dead-on enough for mounting a carving bench that way is because I was fairly casual in laying out the holes. One slow day after I finished the bench I just decided to add some on. I took a long ruler/straight-edge and went to work. Grabbed my crispy MF Holdall brace and a 3/4" ship's auger and had 'em done in about 30 minutes. (The bit was almost smoking hot to the touch. :-) So they might be off by 1/16" here or there. Not a big deal for how I use the dogholes on a daily basis, but too much for attaching a carving benchlet.
Chuck Vance
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How did I come to be in woodworking?
I took a left at rc airplane hobby, pitted after the rc car hobby, and arrived here at a hobby my wife actually LIKES me to spend money on (I trade furniture for tools).
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My first woodworking project was carving my initials on my school desk in second grade. Second project was refinishing the desk. Actually true. Dave

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all good stories...hope I've sparked some fond memories of past accomplishments and past mentors...hope to see more.
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My father had a workshop in the basement where we lived in Montreal. My first foray into woodworking at seven years old, was helping him paint part of the house. I distinctly remember using some of his chisels to open paint cans. Naturally, I broke off the sharp tips. He didn't get mad, just told me to use screwdrivers after that. I also built a three level clubhouse in the backyard. It towered above the hedges and must have looked like the biggest eyesore to all the neighbours. My mother said I had a penchant for making boxes. Big, little, piggy bank size to clubhouse size, they were all boxes. I guess I still do it because my preference now is cabinetry, just another type of box.

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snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net says...

Must be a common genetic thread going on in here... My father was a shop teacher in NYC. Back in the olden days, before day care, he brought me to school with him on a regular basis- I remember being in his classroom (woodshop), and having my own miniature bench and set of tools he made for me. I spent a lot of time just absorbing knowledge in there from age 2 until I started school myself, and then it was a "treat" to go to school with Pop when my school was off.
Built my first bench in a closet when I was 5 or 6 from scrap salvaged from Dad's woodpile, and made my newly born brother his wooden first toy- a carefully jigsawed animal of unidentifiable species, which was not-so-carefuly sanded and stained.
Whenever Pop changed schools or shops it was a new learning experience for me and my brother- wood, metal, jewelery, ceramics, print. Most are gone now- shop just isn't important anymore in schools.
When he died, my brother and I split the tools between us- I have his machinist's chest, and some of the tools. All held in trust for my son who unfortunately never got the chance to know his grandpop.
So now I go down to the basement, piddle around in the shop, use some of his tools, and miss the old man.
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"mel" wrote in message

Breeding and lineage, just like a race horse. :)
Paternal grandfather was a rice farmer, blacksmith and wheelwright, made most of his tools, and was self reliant and resourceful enough to figure out a way to single-handedly paint smokestacks at a profit during the depression in order to feed his family, buy back the family farm which had been foreclosed upon when the banks failed and a bumper crop became worthless in 1929, and ultimately send 3 of four boys to graduate degrees.
Maternal grandfather was a rice farmer, hardware store and sawmill owner, and cabinet maker who built his own house and furniture from wood harvested on his property.
My father brooked no nonsense and was a firm believer in doing-for-yourself instead of paying others to do (still does) ... a common trait in S Louisiana, from whence I spring, when newlyweds start off with a shotgun house and add rooms themselves as the family grows. (if you are a stranger, you don't go to pee on a dark night in one of those multiroom houses and find your way back to bed without a map or a familiarization course while the lights are still on).
Dad always had the right tools for whatever job was needed and spared no expense in that regard. He never said "buy the best and only cry once", but looking back, I realize that was the unspoken philosophy.
I was expected to "use my head for something besides a hat rack" and, as adjunct to that, never got the idea as a kid that there _anything_ I couldn't do. If we, the church, or a neighbor, needed a new picnic table or two, I was instructed to build them ... and not having done it before was no excuse ... just "go take a look at Uncle Hugh's and build me four just like that". I built the boat, and the trailer, I used to duck hunt and fish in while in high school ... if I'd had time, I'd probably made an automobile out of necessity, but I managed to make the $200 it took to buy my first one (49 Willy's Jeepster) by loading hay out of the fields. (I did make a go cart in junior high that was the envy of the neighborhood.)
In college, and when first married, money was short and I made the coffee tables, night stands, bookshelves, etc, (poor as they were) to supplement the garage/rummage sale items needed to furnish a comfortable life ... I've never stopped since.
So I go back to the breeding/lineage first stated. I can afford the kind of furniture I like, but I can't find it to buy ... so my lineage kicked in, and here I am. ;>)
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Swingman wrote: I was expected to "use my head for something besides a hat rack" and, as adjunct to that, never got the idea as a kid that there _anything_ I couldn't do.
Dad's...God bless them. I've had that same fearlessness to try something I've never done that you speak of. I'm not sure exactly when it began but I do remember my father coming home one Friday evening and telling me I couldn't drive my first car (a sweet 65 mustang sold it for $2000 back in 1980) till I changed the u-joints. He handed me a box with the u-joints and told me I could find them under the car....that was the extent of his instructions. Looking back today changing u-joints is easy but to a 15 yo who'd never worked on one I was baffled...but I did it. Then there is the story of trying to change the starter on the same car...after spending an entire Saturday struggling with it and bound and determined to not ask for help my dad in his wisdom came to check on me..."you know son? That's not the right starter for this car." Learned something that day too...ask for help.
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"mel" wrote in message

Know the feeling ... could take apart with minimum supervision, and fix, a Ford tractor, and put it back together with no parts leftover, by the age of 13.
Seems one thing that was always hanging off one of my appendages in those days was an old fashioned grease gun ... for some reason society could not have existed, as we knew it then, without the ubiquitous grease gun ... everything needed a periodic shot of grease, and shame on you if you let a fitting go dry!. Something you rarely see/use in this day and age.
I was never a mechanic, nor a worshiper of things automotive, other than out of sheer necessity. Last time I worked on one of my auto's was right before I bought that 78 3/4 ton GMC pickup ... the one with the big 454, or somesuch? But up till then, I don't think I ever took my personal car to a garage.
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mel wrote:

I saw that my father-in-law, being retired for a number of years (25+), has no hobby (because work was his hobby), and is driving my mother-in-law crazy. I decided that being bored after retirement was no way to live. I started about 3 years ago, imersing myself into woodworking. Of course it did not hurt that my father gave me my grandfathers old TS. This was my first shop tool. Now if I am not working on a project, I am working on some sort of jig, tool, etc. for the shop. If my interest does not wane, I am looking forward to a second career after I retire (15 years away) from the current one.
Jerry
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I've often looked at furniture and other items made of wood. While intrigued at how it is made I never really pursued it. I know the limitations of my hands. My wife collects dolls and she would buy doll sized furniture for them and I'd finish it. Well, the stuff was generally crap. She said I could do better. While I figured I was not up to the quality of the stuff you see in magazines, I figured I could equal or better the doll stuff. So I did.
Started with a cheap Craftsman table saw, then added a router, etc. etc. As my skills improved, I bought some better tools and that made some operations even better. I enjoy all aspects of woodworking from planning, design, to the actual milling and cutting of lumber. It is very satisfying to see a project come together, to see parts fit well. I make things for the house, for gifts, for fun. Not for money as that would take the fun out if it for me.
By the time I retire, I'll have a nicely equipped shop and plenty of projects to keep me busy. Meantime, I'm enjoying the time I spend out there and my wife enjoys what I make for her. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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I have been reading all of the other stories about guys whose father or grandfather taught them woodworking. Well, my Dad is a great fella but is totally incompetent with any tool. I got interested in woodworking when a friend built a rack for me to hang my guitar on the wall. I couldn't believe how simple he made it look.
It wasn't long after that that Norm's show began. One of his earliest projects was an adirondack chair. I had always wanted one so, armed with a set of measured drawrings (thus spake Norm) and some rudimentary tools, I built one. I still have a photo of myself sitting in the chair on New Year's Day after spending the day building it. I was exhausted but so proud I could bust.
Dick Durbin
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snipped-for-privacy@tfn.net (Dick Durbin) wrote in message

Same here. My father had a small law firm before suffering a stroke two years ago. Now he just watches TV. Very sad, wish he would have developed a hobby at some point, but the law career was his job and his hobby.
On the other had, both grandparents (one still living, one just passed away) were into woodworking. One built his own house, including making all his own trim. The other made furniture and even a boat. I'm in the process of cleaning out Grandpa's house after he was forced to move in with my folks. Lots of old tools. Some may have value, some not. Too soon to tell. Most of them are still buried under loads of useless junk he thought might be worth something some day. (some of it actually is, including a case of Harley Davidson motor oil cir. 1945 that Harley tells me is worth over $20K) Somewhere buried in the junk is the Harley itself, which he remembers to be a 1920's 50cc job. Now I'm off topic....
Cheers Joe
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My father has always been a craftsman, and a person who loved to work with wood. As I grew older my interests started to move into that direction as well. We would do a project together, more as an excuse to hang out and talk, and I would slowly pick up things. We would watch this old house, idolize Norm, talk about different things that we thought were interesting.
And slowly, I started to acquire my own tools. Some I bought, some were gifts from my father who having finally retired decided to upgrade some of his older equipment. I recently bought my first table saw, and biscuit joiner and finally feel that I have the makings for a decent beginner shop. I really like woodworking and will always attribute that appreciation to my father who helped foster that interest.
My only regret is not starting to work with him when I was a teen, but I was a stupid kid then who didn't want anything to do with his parents. I guess its a part of growing up, thank god I am over that phase.
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My story?
Father teach. Long time ago.
Bill
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On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 7:55:20 -0600, mel wrote

After reading a lot of these, I feel ashamed! Ok, I like many others took the required shop class in 7th grade, but it wasn't really until last year that I got into building things...OK, things isn't the right word. Building a playhouse. Actually if I had known it was going to end up costing me this much, I would have found another hobby (nah, but it's a good lie anyhow)...
Two years ago, I had the idea of closing off the bottom of my daughter's slide, so she would have a place to have a "house". She declined my offer. The next year, she asked me if I would consider building her a real house. hmmm... Well, that's a lot more project that I had ever done before, but how can you tell a 4/5 YO that? OK, I'll do it. Now, where to start? I started looking at plans all over the place, and there was one that I kept using as the measuring stick because I liked the look and the style, unfortunately it was built by Norm Abrams, and I wasn't sure after having watched NYW several times that I would be able to do it. None the less, I decided to buy the plans and video and see if I could do it. After watching the video and looking over the plans, I decided to go for it. 2.5 months later I had it built (just in time for her 5th birthday). To this day, both she and I enjoy having tea parties in it. I've slowly added things to it as I had the time, benches and a nice fold-away oak table (how many playhouses do you know with an oak table? -- leftovers from a project I did for my wife).
So, I've been spending a lot of time building functional things around the house (like cabinets in the garage, so it could become my full-time shop), but at some point I really want to do more fine furniture stuff. I guess I'm in this for the long haul after ordering a General 650 cabinet saw to replace my Dewalt 744 portable saw that I've been using. Amazing what happens when you have a hunk of iron parked around, you end up using it. :-)
Wayne
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Like many others here, my father did some woodworking. Nothing extravagant, but when my older brothers needed a desk, he built one out of plywood. When we got too many kids for the kitchen table, he made one--out of plywood and formica.
My dad spent 40 years in elementary education, but he also contracted 2-4 houses per year for 20-30 years. Not that I did very much, except clean-up and a few other tedious jobs. Did try to make some stuff at home, but really had no idea what I was doing. And dad really didn't either.
Fast forward 20 years. I've finally finished formal education, got a job at the university in Madison, met someone, bought and house, and realize that I've got almost no furniture. Start looking at furniture and realize that the stuff I can afford is crap; the stuff I like I can't afford. At this point I think "Hmmm, maybe I should invest in some tools and build some furniture." Long story, short, five years after that, I quit the university (HATED being and academic) and with the support of my wife, I'm now doing commission pieces. The funny thing is that most people assume I got the "gift" from my dad, but he freely admits he was never a fine furniture maker--he built furniture because the family needed it yesterday.
One of the great joys for me now is talking woodworking with my dad. He's 83, recently widowed for the 2nd time, lives 2000 miles away, but I think about him all the time. He was a great encouragement when I told him how unhappy I was at the university and was thinking of a radical change in my life. Plus when I do get to see him, we both love to go the Lee Valley store (he lives in Vancouver) and look at the toys--I mean tools.
David
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