The Beginning

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Blog entry by Topsailor posted 01-08-2014 06:02 AM 1224 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So…about me. I am almost 30 years old and grew up in northwestern Georgia. At 18 I joined the US Navy and decided to volunteer for submarines. I went to basic training in Great Lakes, IL and on to “A” school and Nuclear Power School in Goose Creek, SC, just outside of Charleston. After that I was assigned to the USS Miami based out of Groton, CT. I spent the next 5 years on board this wonderful ship. I went on 2 deployments, the first to the north Atlantic and the second to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf. I went to many countries including Norway (twice), the UK (4 times), Portugal, Spain, Israel, and Bahrain (twice). I had a great time and also got to visit many US ports including Mayport, FL; Port Canaveral, FL; Norfolk, VA; and Kings Bay, GA. After my tour here I decided to to back to Goose Creek and become an instructor there. I spent 3 years here and got to spend a lot of time with my family. After this tour I decided to give the other coast a try and got orders to the USS Pennsylvania out of Bangor, WA. I am still on active duty and still on board USS Pennsylvania.

Here are some photos of the places I got to go:

How did I get into woodworking?

As a kid my dad always made me help him with projects around the house including fixing the truck, etc. Some of the better projects we got into were in the woodworking department. My dad had a circular saw and a miter saw and that was it. We retreaded the stairs, hung lattice, built a deck, and the most complicated project we had was installing a jacuzzi in the bathroom for mom. This required us to surround the tub with new panels which my dad expertly cut with a circular saw and no guide. He is definitely a skilled carpenter, I mean the man can split a 2×4 with a circular saw freehand. I still admire him for his skills in free handing a circular saw.

After about 8 years after all that and without really doing anything close to woodworking, my wife saw a set of shelves on pintrest. The shelves were designed to hold 3 laundry baskets each, and she asked me if I could make them. At the time I had a jigsaw that I once used to make some door panels for a 66 Chevy Impala and an orbital sander that I bought for the same project. So I told her that I could do it but I would need a tablesaw. Never having used one before, I figured that any saw would do just fine and bought a Ryobi. Somehow i cut those 4×8 sheets of plywood into two sets of shelves just screwed together without killing myself.

Then I was hooked. I decided to make myself a rod and reel holder and went and got a compound miter saw. The tool collecting had begun and so had the challenge to build bigger and better things. We moved about 3 weeks after I completed that holder. It took us 2 weeks to make our way across the country and the whole way I found videos on youtube on tools, techniques, etc. As soon as we got to Washington we found the local pet store. They had chickens which my kids had to have naturally. I brought 6 baby chicks home and began construction on a chicken coop. I took pallets and any free stuff I could find on craigslist and got it done for about $100 altogether.

Here it is all done:

Well, I went about collecting more tools, replaced that tablesaw and got started making some furniture. My first real projects are posted right here on lumberjocks. I’ve been at it ever since and can’t get enough. Its been about 2 years since that first cut on the tablesaw and I’ve done a lot since then, considering how much I am away from home or at work for long hours. In May we decided to buy our first house and I lucked out and got one with a 3 car garage in the back and a separate 1 car garage for a finishing room. It had once been a car repair/restoration place, but I have seen turned it into my dream shop. I ran the electricity from the house out to a separate sub-panel and ran the outlets in the shop. After that I got going full steam.

Here’s the shop…that smaller building to the left is the finishing room.

I am very blessed and grateful for such a wonderful shop, great tools, and most of all a very understanding wife who puts up with me being out in the shop until late in the evening. She lets me have all the tools I can afford and never complains when I stack any wood I can afford to the rafters. Being only an E-6 in the Navy, sometimes I run the budget tight with my excesses but she never complains.

5 comments so far

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3666 days

#1 posted 01-08-2014 07:46 AM

Traveling can be a cool benefit of the Military.
Years later you’ll be having those conversations and say: “ya, I was there”.
Nice to have a detached shop and some of that great Pacific Northwest seclusion….....................

-- mike...............

View CaptCoan's profile


39 posts in 2570 days

#2 posted 01-08-2014 08:59 AM



View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2836 days

#3 posted 01-08-2014 02:48 PM

Thank you for your Service and thank you for sharing a very interesting ‘walk’ through your life to this point.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2436 days

#4 posted 01-08-2014 03:09 PM

Great shop! There are a lot of service members who enjoy the relaxation of woodworking between the demands of their service. I was one. A place like you own, now, will be great to carry on after your active duty is over, too. I retired out of Fort Lewis in 2000, so not too far from you.

-- Dave K.

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3423 days

#5 posted 01-08-2014 04:49 PM

Thanks for your service.

Remember the cardinal rule of submarines: Always make sure in the long run that the number of ups equals the number of downs…

Course, you got to be a bit squirrely to take a perfectly good boat and sink it just to see if you can make it come back up again… < GRIN >

Be Careful!

Herb Cumbie, EMC USN Ret

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

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