A woodworkers journey #1: A new beginning from the end of an era...

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Blog entry by MolokMot posted 02-10-2012 03:10 PM 1853 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of A woodworkers journey series Part 2: Learning How To: For Amateurs, ArmChair and Noob WoodWorkers »

In 2008 My Grandfathers health took a turn for the worse and the doctors told him he was no longer able to spend time in the shop. He had a well-stocked wood shop with over 50 years of collecting tools and building projects. We also found out that he had collected some tools from his grandfather who happened to own a furniture factory in Eastern Pa. (Still trying to track that information down)

I was fortunate enough to collect a good deal of his tools and start my own basement workshop in the townhouse we rent. I wish I had more knowledge at the time or could have taken more of the tools, but with very little knowledge and even less space, I didn’t know what I would need or want. My main focus at the time was to pick up his lathe. (Craftsmen 1948 103.23070 with a 9” swing and 30” between centers) Grandpa was not much of a turner, but towards his later years I hung out with him and made some oak drum sticks. Not the best wood to make the sticks out of, but they worked!

Some time passed and I turned a pen and pencil set for him for Christmas. Even though they were terrible, I believe that was the only time I had ever seen the old man tear up that didn’t involve whiskey and a John Wayne movie.

Grandpa passed away on Sunday, June 21, 2009. One of the greatest men I ever knew. He was an Army vet, wood worker, steamfitter, John Wayne aficionado, and all around an awesome grandfather. I am convinced that his passing had a good deal to do with not being able to work in the woodshop anymore.

To any wood worker, I would say the greatest thing any of you can do is to share your hobby / craft with any of your children, grandchildren or great grandchildren. Grandpa had a huge impact on my life and the fondest memories of him that I have of him always involved him teaching me something or sharing the things he loved. From fishing trips on his boat, John Wayne marathons that grandma was none too fond of, to woodworking, and even trips to the hospital usually related to mishaps in his shop.

Let’s Get Woodworking and I would encourage you to bring along someone who you think might enjoy the hobby, or someone that might just want to spend a little time with you. It is never too early to start some woodworking memories. If they are not old enough to work the machines, you can always hand them a sanding block.

-- MolokMot, Rocker, Woodworker, Geek

3 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3646 days

#1 posted 02-10-2012 03:17 PM

Thanks for sharing your memories of the old man. It definitely is a good thing to keep woodworking alive within families. My grandparents on both sides have since departed, but I’m using the table saw that belonged to my mom’s father. My uncle is also a pro woodworker, and he has tools used by my both my great grandfather and my great great grandfather, many of which are still in use.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Bobsboxes's profile


1672 posts in 3825 days

#2 posted 02-10-2012 03:41 PM

Great memories, time in garage with my Dad are my best times with him. It is great that you got time with your grampa. And yes we need to pass our info and experince. I sharpened up my dads old stanley hand plane and when to work on a slab top, and that was a wonderful feeling. It is a great trade, with huge rewards. Thanks for sharing. Bob

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View DonR's profile


57 posts in 3742 days

#3 posted 02-10-2012 05:02 PM

I grew up waiting for the trips to see my Great Grandfather, we would all (the great grand kids) go out with him and make things in the shop. Slingshots and stilts were standard but every once in a while he would stop and show us some of the more serious techniques of working wood. My mother tells me that was how it worked when she was a kid as well. Thanks for sharing your story.

-- Don Riney, Arlington TX, --- Using a lathe involves breaking years and years of training and sticking a sharp piece of metal into rotating machinery.

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