Reminds me of a puzzle I sent to my grandmother on the left coast in the mid
60s. I made the puzzle on my father's Shopsmith scroll saw when I was about
8 years old. When my father was at his sister's house in FL a few years ago
he found out that my aunt now has the puzzle--this is some 20 years after my
grandmother died. My mother still has a walnut beverage tray I made in the
early 70s. Knowing that these things have endured for that long is pretty
In more recent times, despite winning a ribbon at a woodworking show last
year I still don't feel like I've arrived. I'm pretty proficient at many of
the mechanical tasks but feel that I have a long way to go in many areas.
For example, design, rococo carving, and veneering are areas in which I'd
like to develop skills. I also appreciate that I am terribly hard on myself
and few people can see errors that stick out like a sore thumb to me!
Well, I'm still not to the "seasoned craftsman" level. But I knew I
was getting better when I entered a small show and won a first:
p.s. The daughter's smile is worth more to me than the blue ribbon :-)
Me neither. Dave in Fairfax tells me I should do about 100 test runs before
I try it for real, and I think he's right. I guess I'm just afraid I'd get
two of them perfect, or three of them perfect, and bungle the last one
First large project. I made it out of cheap 1x2s that I cut with a cheap
plastic miter box, and cheap plywood that I cut out with a cheap B&D
jigsaw, finished with cheap Minwhacks stain, and I think Red Devil poly. I
measured the space, drew it out on paper, figured and calculated and cut,
and made it, and damn if it didn't fit.
(It doesn't quite fit here. It fits the original window it used to sit in
front of perfectly. The kind of neat thing about looking at this picture
now, a year or two later, is that all of those plants are still alive. I
finally found a collection of indestructible houseplants. I have killed
teeming masses of the poor unsuspecting bastards, but these hardy critters
can stand up to the worst kind of inept treatment ol' Silvan can dish out.)
First real lumber that wasn't from a BORG or recycled from something someone
threw away. Hand in hand with this, first walnut, first time I ever used
hand planes to make something out of semi-rough stock.
First halfway respectable table saw.
First time I did an entire project without using any sandpaper. (Planes and
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
On 30 Jan 2005 20:31:29 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
My next milestone will be finishing the kitchen remodel and the bath
remodel, so that I can actually do some bona fide wooddorking.
As with most milestones in the pursuit of excellence - although we
appear to be walking in circles when seen from above, we are actually
drilling down to a deeper understanding - when seen from a proper
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
Comfortable with sharpening your own tools to perfection.
You create a piece of your own design - and someone offers you huge money
When people quit asking you to make something for them but start asking what
it would cost to build ....
Other professionals ask "How did you do that?"
When you start to employ people to help with the process.
And the final milestone:
You no longer have any desire to shop at Harbor Freight!
Wow. That looks *exactly* like the one the was my grandparents! They
bought it from a dear friend in the 1950s. The wood on theirs is darker
but all is the same. Amazing, itsn't it, how much alike things can be
when they are different?
Hmmmm. The first was my sewing cabinet. It was actually the first thing I
took the time to properly finish and actually steel-wooled between coats
of Deft, and it showed it. Additionally, it was the first thing I made
just for me. I still have it though it has a couple of dings on it now.
It's a shame I only could afford Douglas Fir plywood at the time; it could
be an heirloom if I could have afforded a nice wood. It will last
forever, however, as it is very sound and well constructed.
The second was a kitchen cabinet I made for over our kitchen windows. It
had two partitions (three sections)with two doors on each section, 70"
long and 20" high to fit exactly over the windows. The select white birch
was so well matched that the doors almost looked stamped. When it was
done, the Deft was so good that it shown like a mirror. That was the
preview for my kitchen remodel. It might sound odd, but even the entire
kitchen didn't produce as much satisfaction as that one cabinet. I
actually joked with my husband that I wanted to be buried in it, even if
it meant cutting the body into three pieces. When we left that house, I
took the cabinet and installed it in the kitchen of the next house. Yes,
it is now in this house. It wasn't easy finding a place for it here where
it wouldn't be in the way because of its length, but it is in the hallway
off the bedrooms/bathroom. It's not a place where it's properly
displayed, but it's there. Interestingly enough, though I installed
standards in dados, I never made shelves for it as there was no need.
Another milestone was a year or two ago when my middle son sent a friend
of his to me, "My mom knows a lot, she always manages to come up with the
right thing," when he needed help with a particular project.
I guess the most recent, and maybe most important, have been when my
daughter-in-law started asking me to build particular things for them (and
especially for the granddaughters) as well as particular sewing projects.
In the earlier years, there had been a bit of an attitude (inspired by her
mother) that because I was a do-it-yourselfer, I really didn't know much.
Even her mother has changed her attitude after she saw the girls' Dorothy
(dinosaur) costumes for Halloween 2003 and the Christmas bookshelves, both
custom things of course.
An older milestone was when our male friends, who were laughing at a woman
remodeling a kitchen, visited the finished project. The very positive
feedback from others who they talked to about it was quite rewarding.
Oddly, though I had a sense of pride/accomplishment at the finished
project, it was more a necessity or ulitarian project. But then I consider
all of mine ulitarian. If I didn't need them or have a use for them, it
wouldn't be built.
Not a milestone, but a "you see!" was when I went to work as office
manager for a remodeling company. After the first few weeks, he took me
to the jobsite and said he wanted me to cut out for the sink and left to
work outside. When he came back in, the sink was in place, fitting
perfectly of course. He looked at me and said, "You really did remodel
your kitchen, didn't you?" Geez. (For the record, he had left the drill
in the truck so I had to go out and get it to drill the holes for the
corners which he probably figured I wouldn't know about.) Guess he didn't
believe a woman can run an office, look good, and use a saw. Oh, well. LOL
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