Sounds like most of us had pretty similar starts into our addiction.
My grandfather owned a truck stop. Not the new-fangled, Flying J type, but
the old school, classic road house type. By default, my father ended up
working there, since he had always hung out there as a child and that's just
what you did back then...help out with the family business when your old
enough to do so. Changing split ring truck tires, being a diesel mechanic,
welding, and all other things associated with keeping a truck stop in
business is what kept my father occupied for most of his early life. To say
that he was (is) mechanically inclined would be an understatement. He went
on to be a towboat chief engineer and is now, on the threshold of
retirement, working as an engineering rep for a petro-chem shipping company.
Woodworking is a bit different than metalworking, even given their
similarities. Dad made things and did repairs around the house out of
necessity. Pride and a lack of money kept him from hiring a carpenter,
plumber, electrician, etc. At work, Dad had access to all the proper tools
needed and they were mostly of the best quality. At home, however, the tool
selection was scanty and of the lowest quality (cheapest) that could be had
at the time. Our projects were pretty rough, given the lack of always having
the proper tool for the job, but I didn't know any better as a child. I was
just thrilled to be hanging out and "helping" Dad with his list of
I picked up the beginnings of my mechanical and woodworking ability by
wanting to be like Dad. It wasn't long before I was tearing apart and
rebuilding the lawnmower (not that it needed it), building pretty elaborate
tree forts out of scrap lumber, and tinkering with just about anything that
could be tinkered. I know now how valuable it was to learn how to "make do"
with what I had available tool and material wise. It taught me to think,
improvise, and do the best I could with what I had. I'm actually amazed at
some of the things I was able to accomplish.
As a teen, I worked as a fiberglass fabricator and learned more about power
tools. I had access to various quality tools; including a RAS, table saw,
bandsaw, and pneumatic tools, which were new to me. After work and on off
days, I was able to experiment and build as I pleased. That is how I
learned...either OJT or trial and error. Respect for equipment and attention
to detail were picked up during this phase and applied to other facets of
life as well. Time spent in that shop groomed ideals that I still follow
Since then, I've done just about everything from rough remodeling work to
building some nice furniture. I now support my income and tool acquisitions
habit with carpentry work and a little furniture building from time to time.
Plus, I can't imagine anything more therapeutic than the smells and sounds
of woodworking. OK...maybe a grill, hammock, and margarita, but not much
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