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So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Printable Version

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RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Just_Dave - 04-12-2017

I suppose in some ways it is in my genes.  Both of my grandfathers were pretty decent woodworkers.  My dads brother was a great woodworker.  I now wish that I had spent more time with him to learn.  Dad was an OK woodworker, but just about everything he did had some pretty noticeable flaws.  His motto was  "it is good enough"  Dad had one strong suit that he did do well and that was finishing.  I don't have much of my father in me in that regard.  I have more of my mothers father in me, he was a perfectionist.  Course I have a tendency to take the term perfectionist to a higher level Sigh

Dad never really let me do much with his tools, but he did teach me to respect the table saw, and he tried to teach me how to finish.  I hate to finish and sadly I didn't pay attention to those lessons.

Fast forward to buying a home and starting down the road of filling a room in the basement with a model railroad.  I got a Craftsman tablesaw and a cheap Makita mitersaw.  Then I gutted the basement, built new rooms, and finished it all.  To build a model railroad you have to have a certain amount of woodworking ability so I think all of that was the beginning.  At some point I got burnt out on the whole model railroad gig (long story involving custom model building and custom painting).

I was in the old Home Base (like HD only better) one day and they had a really nice Makita mitersaw on special for something ridicules like $100.00 so I bought it.  This lead to building a display case for trains, and then a CD holder for my daughter and it took off from there.  I don't even remember what I was building but I was looking for help.  I found a nice woodworking forum that I joined and got all my answers, it eventually faded away in the late 90's.  I then found this place and lurked for over a year before joining.  

I blame everyone here past and present for all the tools I own and the shop I built Winkgrin   I make beautiful firewood out of exotic wood, and some decent projects out of pine, or whatever crap wood I can find.  Rolleyes  

When I reflect on where I am at in my abilities I think I am allot more like my uncle.  He built his own home and did all the interior finish including the cabinets.


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Chuck Nickerson - 04-13-2017

In my late 30's I saw a Shopsmith demo at a home & garden show. 25 years later I'm still going.
That Shopsmith served me well enough for 10 years but I'm not going back.


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - sfchuck - 04-14-2017

My first "woodworking" project, at age 10 or 11, was a shelf for a small lamp that sat on the wainscoting top rail in my grandmother's kitchen. It was crude...clipped the corners off a 12x6 pine board and painted it. In the 7th grade, I took an elective class in woodworking with hand tools (hand saw, jack plane, etc.) and made a broom holder and other small items. In high school I took a woodworking shop class and made a coffee table that turned our rather well. After high school, I worked for a VERY short time as a pattern maker's apprentice and then turned away from woodworking for more than 20 years. Then I happened across Norm Abrams on TV and watched virtually every episode for about 10 years and that's where I learned woodworking. In the meantime I acquired some tools and began doing small projects. Eventually I acquired an old Craftsman table saw, tuned it up and (perhaps most importantly) added an after-market fence. I've now done many woodworking projects, including building my own router table with roll-out bit drawer from scratch, a large floor to ceiling cabinet in a bedroom, twin coffee tables, kitchen cabinet modifications, knock-down computer tables, 3-drawer cabinet under a cantilevered hearth, etc. I've now acquired enough experience to embark on my second phase...learning precision set-ups for my machinery and the making of precision jigs and accessories.


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Steve N - 04-14-2017

(04-13-2017, 01:21 PM)Chuck Nickerson Wrote: In my late 30's I saw a Shopsmith demo at a home & garden show. 25 years later I'm still going.
That Shopsmith served me well enough for 10 years but I'm not going back.

In 82 through 85 I was the guy doing the show for you, or helping out. Mostly East coast, Oklahoma, and Taxus Big Grin Going to school during the day, weekends on the road, weeknights on the phone at SS doing Cust Service. It was during my, I'll sleep when I'm dead period Laugh Laugh Laugh


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Ingjr - 04-15-2017

Norm had a big influence in my decision to try woodworking.  Few books at the library and shazam, I can now make 2 short boards out of one long board.  Magic.


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Big Dave - 04-21-2017

There seems to be an artistic bone that runs in my family. I don't have it, but it's there in my dad, brother & sister. What I lack in artistic talent, I make up for with a desire to build things. I took shop classes, but that instructor had little time for some of his students - and I happened to be one of them. I also had two years of vocational training in carpentry while I was in high school with an amazing instructor. That really got my juices flowing. I joined the Navy hoping to get into the SeaBees, but someone has to die or retire before there's an open billet with those guys. So I ended up getting into one of the engineering rates. Fast forward 6 years and a newly minted Navy veteran gets bored and sees an ad looking for volunteers with a local community theater group building sets & props....

My woodworking was very sporadic until I bought my first house. A few months later I got word that my sister was pregnant with their first child. The idea to build a cradle in my garage sprung forth and the rest, as they say, is history. Most of what I have done is self taught. I read a lot, and I never tire of learning or trying something new. Being an introvert, the shop is my sanctuary. I have much to learn, but I love the challenges and the victories of finishing a project and seeing the beauty of the wood shine through. But what it really comes down to is, I like to build things... Winkgrin

Big Dave


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - anthonyt141 - 04-22-2017

One day I decided to quit my corporate job and decided to try my hand at house flipping.  I had no idea how to anything regarding construction but I have always been very good at picking things up quickly.  Shortly after starting my first house, I realized I had an affinity for basic carpentry and had a knack for it. 

Eventually I graduated to some more advanced finish trim work to cater to some of the more difficult situations I was running into.  My electrician at the time, who loved to bust my balls about everything, mentioned that I had some skill with carpentry and should get more into it.  

So after that, I decided to start making furniture with my Dad who has been a huge woodworking nut for a while, and he has begun showing me the ropes.  We built a gorgeous cherry TV stand a few months ago and we are planning on attempting to build a cedar strip canoe next!


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - BigD - 04-23-2017

65 years ago (when I was 6), my dad let me use his woodworking tools, but only hand tools. I had to wait until I was 8 to use the power tools. The first power tool I bought was a Wards scroll saw when I was 14. Still have it and still use it. The first shop class in school was when I was a freshman in high school. The rule was you had to make your first project using only hand tools. After that, the teacher would show you how to use the power tools. I told the teacher about my experience, but I don't think he believed me and said I had to make the hand tools only project. So, I made a rack to hold neckties the first day of class and started putting the finish on it on day two.
     So, the teacher said "let me see you run the jointer, drill press and table saw". I ran them all and he said " well, I guess you can start whatever kind of project you want". I built a desk out of walnut and when the state contest for high school woodworking projects opened the next spring, I entered it and won a blue ribbon.
     I have been adding tools as I can afford them since then and now have about everything I need. A while back, my wife came out to my shop and was looking around. She said "you sure have a lot of money tied up in tools".
    I replied that if I did not have my shop and tools that she would be spending that money for my room and board in the nut house that I would be in.


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Stwood_ - 04-24-2017

Started in High School. 3 years woodworking, 1 year drafting, 1 year welding.
Yea I stayed in the shop. Winkgrin


RE: So How Did You Get Started Woodworking? - Project510 - 04-26-2017

My story is far less interesting than some that have already posted.. My mom bought me a kids woodworking tool box. It had the basics, or at least the tools you could trust a 8 year old with.

Block sander
hammer/nails
mini hand saw
coping saw tape measure

I'm sure I am missing a few. I really wish I would have held onto it. We were pretty poor when I was little so I am sure it set my mom back some cash. We moved so many times I have no idea where it was left. That's when I first got interested in woodworking. Because I was never really settled in a place until I was an adult, and by then had to worry about living expenses, I am now 37 and finally in a place to enjoy the hobby so I am back to being that 8 year old learning how to make things with wood. Only now with much more expensive tools I suppose.