Where did the journey start??

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by BB1 posted 01-07-2019 07:22 PM 2825 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I expect everyone has a story when it comes to what started his/her woodworking journey. Mine started with home improvement. I wanted to get rid of some carpeting and was told it was “easy” to put in laminate flooring (not sure “easy” was the correct term!!). That first project using just a jig saw was followed by more laminate flooring projects for which we purchased a sliding miter saw. Figured the saw paid for itself with what the install cost would have been. Then it all started to snowball from there…router…used router table…table saw…and on and on (where does it end!?...and why do I feel so happy when I find clamps on sale?!?). For me, woodworking is a mental challenge that I enjoy. I love building small items (e.g., boxes, serving trays) to give as gifts. Also, being able to build something custom-designed for our home, rather than trying to buy something that doesn’t really meet the need, has been rewarding. “Simple” projects like cabinets, floating shelves, mudroom hamper stand, garage storage, and others are “doable” now – only a few years ago I would have had no idea where to start. Tackling a Murphy Bed build with my husband was the biggest project but we made it! I laugh that I have learned a foreign language with words like dado and blind dovetail. I still look with wonder at many of the LJ project posts and appreciate everyone who takes the time to provide background and “how to” steps. Looking forward to learning more, expanding my skills, and making some more sawdust in 2019.

11 comments so far

View Andre's profile


4577 posts in 2925 days

#1 posted 01-07-2019 09:21 PM

I started to build as soon as I was able to hold a hammer, growing up on a small farm enabled a lot of practical hands on experience. Have built a lot of stuff over the years, Built houses after high School as summer job then started to buy and reno houses as a hobby and way to increase the property value of our homes. Wasn’t until I retired and stumbled across Inside Passage that working with Wood started to mean so much more?
Thanks to L.J.s, I am able to stay very humble! :) Only one to scare me so far was Shipwright, standing over me and telling me, keep the blade on the line! But he did let me play with his Chevalet. :)

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View ralbuck's profile


6745 posts in 3385 days

#2 posted 01-07-2019 09:51 PM

You are delving into ancient history!

I started at about 5 or 6 years old; maybe even younger. On the farm shop the tools always had more intrigue than trying to do any kind of sports that I was then and still AM absolutely TERRIBLE at and have even less interest in them!

The whole yard buzzed with the scrap wood wind-vanes with noisy, crude, off center propellers. But they faced into the wind and turned. In the fall of 1953 electricity came to the northern end of the Des Lacs river Valley. I bought a Craftsman tiny scrollsaw—(Called JIG-SAWS-Then—)! I have been making sawdust ever since. I still have that tiny saw and it still works; although on home made parts for over fifty years now.

When my 4 boys were small, my toys were very crummy looking. By the time they were in high-school; my toys were reasonable. By the time grandkids came along some of my toys were/are even nice.

I have made everything from farm gates to small buildings to yard furniture to bottle openers. Toys are still my favorite things to make.

Hopefully I eventually get good at woodworking too!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View BB1's profile


2211 posts in 1967 days

#3 posted 01-08-2019 04:09 PM

Andre and ralbuck – great journeys!

View leafherder's profile


1982 posts in 3071 days

#4 posted 01-08-2019 09:11 PM

As a kid I remember picking up sticks and rubbing them on the sidewalk to make points, or getting a piece of sandpaper and sanding the bark off. In Cub Scouts we were introduced to carving with pen knives but I always enjoyed filing and sanding better than carving. In Junior High School (age 13) we had to take woodshop and were taught to use table saws, band saws, and belt sanders – the teacher liked to test our skills by having us make those wooden brain teaser puzzles. My projects were always a bit lopsided but I could solve all the puzzles in record time (teacher didn’t like that – or me – and he turned me off to woodworking for the next 15 years.) Then at about age 30 we had a big windstorm that blew down several trees in the yard, as I was cutting up the branches for the trash I noticed one that seemed to be the right size and shape for a cane and I set it aside, and I asked a wood carver at a local craft show how long it took for a branch to dry enough for woodworking. A year later I started sanding the bark off and revealed the beauty of the wood – I was hooked and started looking for branches the right size and shape for canes and walking sticks. I find the filing and sanding to be very calming and I started growing saplings and bending or twisting them to the desired shape. That’s my journey – took a long time to get back to the fun I had as a kid, but satisfying to know that people use and appreciate my simple canes now.

-- Leafherder

View BB1's profile


2211 posts in 1967 days

#5 posted 01-09-2019 03:03 PM

Leafherder – glad you got back into woodworking.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


836 posts in 898 days

#6 posted 01-09-2019 09:41 PM

This got me thinking about hanging out in shops in the 70’s listening to rock on the radio with my dad as he put food on the table. He was a wood sculptor, but in between commissions he did cabinet work and sign work. It was always feast or famine and was always working on either some massive art project, a sign for some store or a high end kitchen. Interesting times. Safety was an afterthought and the only time the glasses came out was for the nail gun fights on Fridays and quitting time.

Though he is long gone, some of his more significant works still stand here and there and I go out of my way to check on them from time to time.

View BB1's profile


2211 posts in 1967 days

#7 posted 01-12-2019 02:26 AM

clevercrafter32 and BlueRidgeDog – family connections are great

View DS's profile


3792 posts in 3539 days

#8 posted 02-27-2020 05:05 PM

1974 - Introduction to Industrial Arts class in Junior High School.
Drafting, Metalworking, Plastics and Woodworking.

Hand, meet glove…

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Phil32's profile


1449 posts in 1023 days

#9 posted 02-27-2020 10:45 PM

I am a child of the Great Depression (born in 1932) which means my childhood toys had to be made, by me. Both of my grandfathers were woodworkers and provided instruction & supervision while I learned to use their tools. By age 12 I carved a lever action carbine rifle and double barrel shotgun from redwood. I helped my uncle build a house at age 15. I planned to be a woodworker – - – until I met the woman who became my wife and mother of my kids.

My actual career was in the US space program – 40 years at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA – but I never gave up my love of wood. Now retired, I do a lot of woodcarving.

-- Phil Allin - There are woodworkers and people who collect woodworking tools. The woodworkers have a chair to sit on that they made.

View Peteybadboy's profile


3501 posts in 3069 days

#10 posted 01-04-2021 10:47 AM

View DevinT's profile


1168 posts in 86 days

#11 posted 03-31-2021 02:53 PM

I wrote a blog entry about how it started

-- Devin, SF, CA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics