My journey to master craftsman has begun

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Blog entry by DRMarston posted 08-12-2012 11:34 PM 1510 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi All!!
Well, here’s my story..
I grew up in a “handyman’s” world. Between birth and the 6th grade, we bought, refurbished, and sold 4 different houses, then we built a house from the ground up (80% of the work done by us, only clearing the land, septic, and the footings / foundation concrete work were contracted out) and sold it by the age of 17. Then the economic downturn in the 80’s hit, so my dad took a voluntary separation from the company where he worked (yes, he is a workaholic) and purchased a fishing resort in northern Minnesota. While there, we remodeled 7 cabins, built 3 more and turned a 6 car garage into a lodge ( “beer bar” / pizza and burger kitchen / game room; all tongue and grove interior with log furniture.. ya know.. a fishing resort!)
Like most kids, I wanted to “Get the hell out of dodge”, so I did. I did a 4yr stint in the Armed services, went to college and got my degree in Management Information Services, and was a little over 10 years into my career. (meanwhile, the resort was sold, and my dad got his master electrician licence. He and I did lots of odd job electrical work on the side for “blow money” until he had a stroke a few years back)
Well, we all know what has happened to the economy, and last year I was part of a “Reduction in Force”..
Now, I live in a fairly rural area, so my Degree is basically worthless unless I want to move to a metropolitan area (Minneapolis / St. Paul being the closest), but honestly, at 40 something years old, I really don’t want to (nor is it easy to) start all over in the I.T. world.
I have always loved building things out of wood. I don’t think I have bought shelving units, bookcases, or a headboard since I was in the service… which leads me here!
I look at all the beautiful pieces created (and the prices they fetch) combined with the end of an I.T. career, and thought.. what the hell do I have to lose?.. I’m going for it!
I started gathering the few tools I still needed for the beginnings of a real shop [starting in a 1 car garage, in an apartment building (great neighbors and landlord !!)] and have started reading veraciously all the woodworking books I can get my hands on. I just bought my first CAD software (I’m a computer geek, so the learning curve in that realm is not much of a problem for me), and I have scabbed together a few rough pieces (Pics of first works and shop coming soon).
Now here’s a key piece of info about my life: Me and Karma have a love/hate relationship, and here is an example..
Love: Earlier this summer (2012), fortune smiled upon me, and I inherited a furniture makers back stock! I now have a couple hundred board feet of live edge cherry, hickory, ash, mahogany, walnut, cottonwood (I think), and some I have yet to identify, and all of it has been air drying for approximately the last 10 years. My layman’s guestimate is $5K to $10K worth of hardwood!!!! (one of the largest cherry slabs is 72” x 12” x 3” !!)

Hate: Over the 4th of July weekend, a tornado wiped out the garage where I had my table saw, large band saw, scroll saw, and drill press stored (out of the way while I build lumber racks for all that wood!) ....
F F F U U U D G E !!!
(I salvaged the Rigid 12” planer, cheap Ryobi router table and 9” band saw, and Skil 10” portable (read P.O.S.) table saw..

So… let the FUN begin!!!

-- Never hold in farts, they travel up your spine to your brain, and that's where shitty ideas come from

7 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3251 days

#1 posted 08-13-2012 01:09 AM

Best of luck to you and I love your tag line!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View DRMarston's profile


23 posts in 2675 days

#2 posted 08-13-2012 04:14 AM

Thanks! I have a cartoon of “droopy the dog” with my tag line on it above my desk.. I can hear his voice every time I read it!

-- Never hold in farts, they travel up your spine to your brain, and that's where shitty ideas come from

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4262 posts in 3122 days

#3 posted 08-13-2012 04:36 AM

Man I love to have you here. You are my kind of guy.

I will be praying for your new endever. I am really looking foward to seeing your work.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3421 days

#4 posted 08-13-2012 01:43 PM

If you can get a refund, sell back the CAD software and get the free version of SketchUp. It will do everything you need and there a lot of great resources (many of them free) to help you master the program.

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3418 days

#5 posted 08-13-2012 02:06 PM

New beginnings


Sweet wood for some fun :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View DocSavage45's profile


8874 posts in 3404 days

#6 posted 08-13-2012 05:17 PM

Fellow transplanted Minnesotan. Resort up North? Nice! Check out Minnesota woodworkers guild. I use to go to the annual meetings, and they had some great workshops by designers. There is an annual show as well. I am in Boring farm country down south and I rehabed my small animal barn to make furniture. LOL! May get to furnoiure after my old house.


If at all possible…Do not buy cheap tools.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SchottFamily's profile


105 posts in 3054 days

#7 posted 08-14-2012 07:56 AM

Best of luck to you! I started (actually, I’m still starting) with all IT knowledge and no real woodworking experience. I wanted to get as much as I could with what I had, and that lead me to a few Skil purchases. Don’t write off that saw yet – I got a 80092 table for my 3400 and it does me just fine until I get up enough scratch for something a little more powerful. I’ve got about 125 in the saw and the table, so I can’t complain! Well, that’s not true – I do complain about the lack of power and the sloppy miter slot, but that’s about it. ;)


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