Learning Curve #20: 365 Days Later

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 01-05-2008 12:33 PM 1577 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 19: My Latest Project Part 20 of Learning Curve series Part 21: Chisels »

Jan. 5, 2008
Thanks to Cajunpen I remembered that today marks my one-year anniversary here at the LJ shop.

It has been an interesting year, filled with surprises. Last year, on this day, I thought “give woodworking a try and see if you like it”. I had no background in woodworking, no mentor to copy, no woodworker or creations as an inspiration—just an appreciation of wood surfaces.

I didn’t know what I wanted to make or how I wanted to make it. The only tools we had, worth mentioning, was Rick’s table saw and router, and a cordless drill. When I joined the site I soon became inspired by the possibilities and my love of wood became stronger, as I listened to the words of “my fellow jocks” talk about the process, the fine points of woodworking, and the love of sawdust.

Soon after joining, I dragged (well not really dragged) Rick to a wood show and I got to see the tools. I was drawn to the scrollsaw and I decided that it was to be my “tool of choice”. I had never seen one in use… just an end project or two at the displays. I was in awe. And so the journey began.

The journey—well there were two journeys that began that day. 1) the process of actually working with wood and 2) the journey of stocking the shop area with tools.. and more tools…. Once I had made my first little something or other and I became more aware of the possibilities, I knew that I needed more tools. (Oh the slippery slope!!) And we bought a mitre saw (my favourite tool), and then a drill press (Rick’s “need”), then a planer and jointer… then a bandsaw (Rick’s other “need”)...then the Ridgid Drum/Spindle Sander …and then the dreaded routers (but we won’t rehash those stories)..but.. the router difficulties did result in my purchase of my first (interesting that I just typed “first”) plane… a router plane by Lee Valley. Love it!!

We had the tools… now we just needed to build! My little exploration projects were small and basic and I was pleased. And then came the Thorsen Table Challenge. “You can do it” everyone said…. “Give it a try”. .. Ok, if you say so… and I did. I made my little table and I was shocked that it didn’t wobble. It now sits proudly at my back door holding a plant or the phone, whatever I feel like in the decorating moment :)

After that success, well, my fellow Jocks wouldn’t (and won’t) let me backslide and say “I can’t do that”. They push me (unsuccessfully at this point) to make a Maloof Rocking chair, a bed for my daughter, an instrument, a rocking horse, a drawer… and oh, a small wooden box… the list is endless. I have learned to watch what I say or they are adding a new item to my build list. Things that are way beyond my abilities (or so I think)...

Recently, inspired by some of the new members who are busy with their scroll saws, I have sat back down at my “tool of choice” and, having found some wood that is easy to work with, I have created a few pieces of scroll work and have loved the process! I do believe I was right that it was to be my “tool of choice”.

Last month, I even used the bandsaw for the first time and that was exciting because it opens up the door to a lot of other possibilities. My first creation will never be forgotten… by anyone, it seems.. it has a place in LJ history: the snowman, made of “painted walnut”. Ok, Ok. Ok.. I’ll never make that mistake ever again. You can paint pine if you have to but never, never, never paint walnut. Ever!!

And so here we are today, looking back over the year at my woodworking journey and, although I haven’t come far, I’ve come a long way! I haven’t built any big furniture; I haven’t made my rocking chair or bed, or rocking horse, or musical instrument or anything else that I am being coerced into making :) .. but I have learned so much.

AND… we can’t forget that I am now writing the monthly eMag for Who saw that coming? Certainly not me. I just wanted to see if I liked playing with wood. Over the past year, not only have I started writing the eMag but I have also interviewed a few company representatives. What an honour it has been to chat with the presidents and vice presidents of companies, the entrepreneurs, publishers, and inventors.. I still brag about having chatted with Robin Lee! Even non-woodworkers are impressed with that!

AND… I’ve also chatted with the founder of a woodworking community – the famous Martin Sojka. And that truly has been an honour (what a wonderful (and brilliant) young man he is!!!) I’d like to give my thanks to Martin, not only for this amazing site but also for putting up with my ongoing and lengthy list of ideas, and for being so kind and asking me to write the eMag. Also, thanks to all the LumberJocks who made me feel welcome when I first joined – never once did I feel like I wasn’t capable or that I should keep my beginner questions to myself. Why, I was never made to feel like a beginner—I was just one of the gang learning about woodworking. And thanks to all the LumberJocks who make me feel welcome and part of the family, each and every day that I log on.

365 days… I know that it is going to be another exciting year. Thank you everyone for letting me share this journey with you.

(Oh.. and Tom- I know… no pictures. didn’t happen) It must have all been just a dream.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

25 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4650 days

#1 posted 01-05-2008 12:56 PM

Again, congrats on one year anniversary. (You should really try to post more often, though <g>)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4937 days

#2 posted 01-05-2008 12:57 PM

ooooh boy not another one!!! More postings mean more projects.. push push push hehehehe :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4870 days

#3 posted 01-05-2008 01:01 PM

Happy anniversary, Debbie!

Where in the world is MsDebbieP? I’ll tell you. She is right here where she should be sharing her endless optimism and unique insights to the conversations that go on at LJs. Thanks for all you do. :-)

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4937 days

#4 posted 01-05-2008 01:02 PM

(blushing) Thanks Jeff :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View DustyNewt's profile


690 posts in 4638 days

#5 posted 01-05-2008 01:03 PM

Congratulations, Ms Debbie, on your one year anniversary. We are all on they same curve. Some at different points along it. Some at obtuse angles from it, but linked. I learn something new every day about my strong points and my limitations. That is the point of woodworking for me. The endless paths. I wish you a productive and peaceful 2008.

-- Peace in Wood ~

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4937 days

#6 posted 01-05-2008 01:26 PM

same to you!!
woo hoo 2008… here we come :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 4572 days

#7 posted 01-05-2008 02:00 PM

Happy anniversary Debbie!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4937 days

#8 posted 01-05-2008 02:04 PM

thanks TC

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dusty's profile


785 posts in 4932 days

#9 posted 01-05-2008 02:10 PM

Blah blah blah blah….

where are the pictures? :)

and the chair and bed and?

no excuses your not a newbie anymore….

back to the shop where you belong…....:)

happy anniversary Debbie

-- Dusty

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4782 days

#10 posted 01-05-2008 02:11 PM

Happy Anniversary Ms Debbie!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4715 days

#11 posted 01-05-2008 02:18 PM

Congrats Debbie. Your exhuberance is infectious and you epitomize the joy of woodworking. It is sheer delight to share this space with you.

-- Working at Woodworking

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4937 days

#12 posted 01-05-2008 02:24 PM

haha I’m going wood shopping today.. does that count?
We have to redo our shower which wasn’t put in right in the first place and has been leaking into the floor… and the tub surround is all cracked. .. so it has to be replaced.. and.. and…
and while we are in town we are going to stop by A&M Wood to see what they might have for me to play with…

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Karson's profile


35223 posts in 5176 days

#13 posted 01-05-2008 04:18 PM

Congratulations Debbie.

This whole thing has been a dream. Our minds fitter to and fro from all of the knowledge that has been passed back and forth at electronic speed. We wish that we could read more and re-read more and design more and cut more and sand more and finish or re-finish more.

But this dang computer keeps grabbing us as we walk by. we are mesmerized by the LumberJock with the plane in his hand trying to make the board as smooth as glass.

We appreciate your efforts at keeping us on our toes and well informed.

Congratulations and to a great and blessed Year 2008 and beyond.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4650 days

#14 posted 01-05-2008 05:17 PM

Congratulations and thanks, Debbbie!

It may be cliché, but … “You can do anything you set your mind to.”

-- -- --

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6869 posts in 4755 days

#15 posted 01-05-2008 06:59 PM

Hello Ms. Executive Director;

Only one year? I thought you were older than than. I meant to say more experienced than that.

No no, I meant to say involved in this thing called LJ’s for longer than that. Yeah, that’s it.

You may not have a clue as to how far you’ve come in that short period of time, but it’s much further than most of us, I’m sure.

And just the idea of actually producing the e-mag, within your first year is a serious accomplishment.

I haven’t been here for as long as you, but I’ve noticed, and feel, you add a special ingredient to this site that makes it what it is. With you here, the other woodworking forums don’t stand a chance!

Congratulations on the many accomplishments you have achieved, and I think I can speak for all of us here, we’re proud and honored to know you.

p.s. Martin is a he, not a her!

-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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