Dad was a general contractor, and from an early age I was with him to many
of his jobsites, and when in my teens I worked full time in the summers.
Also took all the middle and high school shop classes - mechanical
drawing, metal shop and wood shop.
First year of marriage, SWMBO bought me a RAS for Christmas. Still using
it today after 33 years.
Added a bedroom and two bath addition on to our first house doing all the
work ourselves. Later on, we built a 3000 square foot tri-level home. I
also built some of our furniture along the way.
I got into woodworking via marriage. My wife, though I
haven't been able to document it, must've been related
to Sarah Winchester, the sole heir to the Winchester
That needs some explaning for the rest of this to make
sense. Sarah was a superstitious lady who was convinced
that the souls of all the people killed by the Winchester
rifles were out to get her. A psychic told her that
as long as she kept building onto her house they'd never
find her. And that's what she did. Must've been a
contractor's nightmare because she had them build
stairs that end at the ceiling, closets that are 3 inches
deep, beautiful stain glass windows with another wall
a foot from their outside faces, columns installed upside
down and a third floor door that opens into a light well.
If you ever get to San Jose, CA go see The Winchester
Mystery House, just for the woodwork - lots of nice
So back to the woodworking topic. Wifey, apparent heir
to Sarah, was also an Interior Designer (not decorator)
After purchasing our first house my woodworking (and
plumbing, electrical, stucco etc.) avocation began.
"Let's move the kitchen over there and make this room
into a dining room. And see that window, make it a large
sliding door. And that door, make it a window and put
the sink in front of it. And since you're moving the
kitchen over there, take that washer and drier and put
them over here, behind the wall you're going to build.
Oh and there should be louvered bifolding doors to hide
them. Now this wall between the new dining room and
the living room - open that up for six foot bifolding
doors as well. And when you're done with that how about
converting what's left of the one car attached garage
into my spinning and weaving room?
Note that bearing walls, iron vent pipes, copper
pipes and wiring are never a consideration in any
Interior Design class. "Just cut a big hole, trim
it out and put in the doors/cabinets/windows etc.."
And that's how I got my first power tools - a good
Sears drill and a Skil worm drive circular saw. They
came in handy when I got to convert half of a four
car detached garage to a jewelry shop. Water, gas
electricity, sewer line, insulated walls and ceiling
and painted sheet rock - with carpeting of course.
Many years later, and another wife and a few "significant
others", I got the entire four car garage to play/work
in. Conveniently, I also FOUND NORM and was reborn!
Not long after that I found this group and what a
blessing that was. There was a whole world beyond
Norm and the later discovered Roy. Krenov and Nakashima
and Maloof, Stickley and Morris and tools that didn't
require electricity. DeCristaforo and all those joints,
And that's how I got on the slippery slope.
ps - I think guys are either genetically programmed
or are trained to solve rather than just
describe problems. Woodworking fills a basic
need for males - an infinite number of problems
to solve - forever.
I like making useful stuff. I especially like making useful things from
other peoples' castoffs. <g>
A goal I have is to be able to prototype anything I can think of (hopefully
for profit <g>.) I bought a tap and die set to put an aftermarket fence on
my contractor saw and the metalworking bug bit me. Today I found affordable
welding classes in my area. ;-)
Plastics and ceramics are sure to follow. I alreadly know quite a bit about
TTL and LRC circuits.
"From Ideas To Devices!"
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