I work with my great-grandfather's tools - they are all hand tools that do
not use electricity. I also have his forge and metalworking tools. I
don't use the tools just to be different than, say, the people who shop at
Lowe's. I genuinely enjoy working with human powered tools. When I use the
tools I somehow feel connected to earlier generations of woodworkers and the
escape from the busy everyday overworked modern life helps me keep
balanced - it's like finding new meanings in old familiar poem. My goal
is to keep enjoying using old tools, learning some more techniques, and
Just to enjoy what I'm doing. So far, I've succeeded. I like to improve my
skills and try new methods. I make things either I want, my wife wants, or
I can give to a friend that would appreciate the item. I'm careful to keep
it a hobby, not a job as I already have a good job. I did accept payment
for material on a bench I made for a friend but even that was after the
Some day I'd like to build that museum quality piece. Woodworking has taught
me patience (maybe age is a factor also) and the sense of accomplishment is
very good also. If it stops being fun, it is time for a new hobby.
For me it is the exact same, however as much by hand as possible. No table
saw, no elecric jointer or thicknesser. But I do have a mini band saw and a
mini drill press, an electric hand Skil-drill, and a Makita palm sander and an
old Rockwell 1/2 sheet sander.
"Minimal-izm" maybe... but I love the old ways of woodworking at heart.
Chisels, hand planes, hand saws, surforms, rasps, braces and handcrank drills,
clamps and a woodworkers bench, and so forth. The hardest part are the old
molding planes (side beaders?) for doing the original work that electric
routers replaced, such as knowing how to choose, use and sharpen them and
making my own blades succesfully. I bought an old skew blade dado plane
with a laminated blade, has no hardness and grinds down like chalk when
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
what goal Im looking for in my woodworking is to be able to build peices
of the quality and with the same skill that my great grandfather or his
sons did or my dad who died when I was only a year old did they did it
all with such care and attention to detail without a shop full of power
we still have these tresures in our famly hand down through the years
my granddaughter plays with a doll cradle built by mt greatgrand dad for
my grand mothers sister
I just hope some day that I can make them proud as they look down from
above at my work
When I first started reading this n.g. several years ago you were in
the process of building your, iirc, "bullet proof boat." I take it
from the tense of your above statement that that project is still
'in-process.' Wow, that gives me hope that some of my long-going
projects might eventually be completed.
Building a boat is lot like wrasslin a bear.
As long as the bear wants to wrestle, you wrestle.
Building a boat, you are never done, but every day when you leave the
boat yard, something is finished that wasn't finished when you got there.
Building boats is quicker and _far_ cheaper than maintaining them once
Ask any boat owner. The amount it costs to look after it is more than
they expected, in rough proportion to the reduction in the time they
actually get to use it compared to expectations.
I know everybody has already heard this, but . .
Definition of a boat . . . "A hole in the water, into which you pour money".
Daughter & SIL just bought a 26' cruiser w/Mercruiser V8 that has suddenly
developed a bad case of "not gonna go". Can't get more than 2800RPM out of
it. He'll eventually get, but it's supremely frustrating(and costly).
The greatest headaches are those we cause ourselves.
To make furniture, cabinets, and built-ins that look exactly like I
expect them to, to my quality standards, in a reasonable amount of
time, to the satisfaction of the person requesting the work.
I also would like to have the experience and ability to use whatever
tool the task requires, hand, power, stationary, you name it.
It started out as sawdust therapy. One place where I could not be
reached by cell phone, because I could turn it off without guilt for
And to have something, anything, tangible, to show for the planning,
learning, struggle and fight that was my life at the time. I've at
least temporarily cured the career induced problems.
My wife & I are discussing telling the corporate world that it can do
without us, that with our children raised and their educations paid for,
and our parents at least fairly well settled into their later years,
that it's time to do the artsy, studio-types of things we postponed 30+
years ago in order to have a home and responsibly raise a family. The
business plan is taking shape, I'm getting sufficient confidence in a
focused area of endeavor, and have put together some network of
resources to show, market and install the types of things I can
economically make in a semi-customised manner.
And then I'll still do a few exploratory pieces, just for my own
But it's nice to have recovered at least some of my former good nature.
who owes most of it to sawdust...
When I hit 50, I took aim at winding down my workaholic lifestyle.
Workshop and workers to the left, customers and the regulation (tax,
safety, workman's comp, insurance, bankers, accountants, suppliers and
weasels) to the right...and Rob in the middle. A continuous act of
putting out fires, starting new ones and always running into-and setting
deadlines. I hadn't turned on a piece of equipment on in a few years.
That corporate treadmill already cost me two marriages and I was burnt
out and freshly divorced. I had it up to here with the bullshit. Sad
part was... nobody to blame. I couldn't even take a vacation without my
cell/satellite/internet connections. Even a 10,000 mile trip in 1999 to
Australia wasn't far enough from the rat-race.
But it was on the way back from the Great Ocean Road through the Otways
rain-forest in a pub in the town of Forest, that I had a few pints with
a few locals that it sank in. I actually caught myself relaxing... what
the hell.. my plane wasn't leaving for another 2 weeks...
When I came back to Canada, I set the wheels in motion to liquidate my
assets to start all over. I had to cut clean. Sept 2003 I went out the
laneway from the shop and retired.... well... semiretired.
My new lady-friend at the time made the effort to show me around her
province, The Cabot Trail, seafood, beer and people similar to those I
met in Oz.
Laid back. Many people come by it naturally. I had to acquire the skill
of being laid back. Piddling around in my garage/workshop (then empty)
allowed me to think. I LIKED working with my hands, using my head. I
could whip up a solid surface countertop in my sleep... the money is
good.. so I decided to fund the growth of a woodworking shop entirely
from the proceeds of my solid surface sales. So far so good.
30 years of millwork experience on all levels has left me with enough
experience not to do foolish things.
I do continue to slap myself when I ohh-and-ahhhed at that General
24"(?) Heavy Duty Industrial planer with the serrated feedrollers that
David Eisen at Federated Tools showed me a few days ago...
Perspective and therapy.... and a project plan. What to build first?
I'm working on a new cherry headboard, then what? Was thinking about
Harley Davidson rocking horses..there are no plans I like, so I'm
drawing away.. I could easily make a 100 of those and make some money
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