Woodworking as Therapy #1: What's old again is new again

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Betsy posted 10-30-2011 01:35 AM 5792 reads 2 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Woodworking as Therapy series Part 2: Need some help coming up with a solution »

I”M BACK! Sorry – I should not have shouted so loudly.

I’ve been lurking in the background for quite some time and have from time to time posted a stray comment or two. But I’ve not been very active in actual woodworking for quite some time. I have had some false restarts and stops and so now I’m starting again and hoping this will not be another false start.

Some of you “old timers” will know that I was at one time quite active on the site and posted quite a lot – then—I had a car accident on my way to Kelly Mehler’s school in Kentucky (I highly recommend his school by the way). Somewhere on this site is the long sordid story – but I could not figure out how to cut and paste the link here—- it’s a bit boring really. But for those who don’t know, I had a car accident in 2008, ended up with a 3” plate in my neck, I got back into woodworking again in late 2009 but then started to have some more health problems. I have been diagnosed with trauma induced Generalized Dystonia – pretty weird sounding name. The doctors figure the Dystonia is directly related to my car accident. Regardless the long and short of it is is that the whole ordeal has really set my life into a tailspin – and that’s because I let it. I’ve always have had to deal with depression but the Dystonia and all that came with it just really set me on my big old butt.

Well after lots of thought I’ve decided the only real way to keep me going was to put myself “out there” to my friends on the site who will at least read my little blog and say a word or two of encouragement (yep – I’m looking for some help).

So I’ve started a new blog for myself – “Woodworking as Therapy”. I’m going to try my best to keep it up and hopefully this will help push me over the top and get me back, not just into woodworking, but life in general.

I’m also going to try to start posting more comments on others work on this site. I’ve really missed the back and forth of the forums and blogs.

Sooo without further explanation here is what I’ve been working on the last week or so.

A hospital that a friend works at does a children’s safety program and they had this old beat up foam fire engine that look like it might have been with Moses at the parting of the Red Sea that they used for demonstrations and story time. They decided they wanted the same thing only in plywood. I’m going to show the pictures – but it really won’t look like much – because it’s not painted. And thank goodness they didn’t ask me to paint it because it would never look like a fire engine. They actually have a professional artist who is going to paint it.

The engine is just short of 8’ long and is made with 1/4” plywood. The joining pieces are just some old 2×4 pieces I had lying around that came in handy for this project.

You may not be able to see but the seams are actually where the door will be so that it will blend naturally with the rest of the engine.

Here is how I’ve put the back together.

Since I made it in three parts they will be able to take it apart and store it in a small space. Also, since most of the folks have smaller cars it had to be made into several parts to be able to be transported. The rope you see in the picture is what they will use to carry the engine from one place to another on the stage.

Admittedly this was not a piece of master craftsmanship but hopefully, once painted, it will look pretty good.

My next project is to finish this load of cutting boards that have been waiting for attention for close to two years now

I’ll be working on the cutting boards a little at a time, but while I work on those I also have this project that I would love to accomplish before Christmas. The project is a serving tray that you’ve probably seen in Woodsmith Magazine (Volume 33 – No. 196). This would make the perfect gift for my boss. She’s really into having some dinner gatherings and wine tastings so this would be a nice thing to give her.

Here is the curly maple I’ve found for the project.

I’ve not found the perfect wood for my handles yet – that’s probably going to take me a little while. The project calls for Cocobolo – but that stuff really makes me break out in hives – so that’s not going to happen. I’m thinking black walnut or maybe even Mahogany.

I know that there are others on this site that deal with major health issues that impact their woodworking and I’ve taken inspiration from them and now I hope to give a little back.

OK – so I’m out here again now. I hope that you will enjoy my little blog (if you don’t – please don’t tell me!).

Until next time.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

22 comments so far

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4070 days

#1 posted 10-30-2011 01:43 AM

nice to see you back

-- BLOG -

View lew's profile


12051 posts in 3748 days

#2 posted 10-30-2011 02:15 AM


So happy to have you back!!

The fire engine looks so cool, can’t wait to see it finished.

Well, at least you know the glue on the cutting boards is dry ;^)

I really think Walnut would look great on the tray, especially if you could get some nice dark heart wood.

Remember we are here to pull you up out od any “funk” you may find yourself!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3334 days

#3 posted 10-30-2011 02:38 AM

that’s the spirit betsy

give it another go

it’s not easy being a people sometimes
so long as we do our best

it becomes our reward

welcome back

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2686 days

#4 posted 10-30-2011 02:42 AM

I’m looking forward to this blog!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View HerbC's profile (online now)


1754 posts in 2852 days

#5 posted 10-30-2011 02:52 AM


Gosh, we’ve missed you!

As I mentrioned once before, I found your earlier blogs and read them all in sequence. It’s really good to have you back. And don’t let the blues get you down. You’ve got plenty of people who care about you and would do whatever they could to help if you let them…

Glad you’re back.

Be Careful!


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

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4059 days

#6 posted 10-30-2011 03:11 AM


Glad to see you are back in the saddle Betsy. Your Fire Engine looks great to me, and the cutting boards are really going to look great when you finish them, as Lew said – the glue should be nice and dry :-)). I keep saying that I want to make a few, maybe you have inspired me to get moving.

We really missed you – you always seem to say just the right thing when responding to a project that someone has posted. Just keep on keeping on and things will be great.

I look forward to following both your blog and your projects as they develop.

Welcome Back!

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3889 days

#7 posted 10-30-2011 03:43 AM

Thanks for the nice words guys.

The glue really is dry on those boards – and one just came out of the clamps before I took the pictures – so its good and set!

Herb – it boggles my mind that you read all of my blogs. That’s amazing!

I hope I have a really good long run here on LJs again. I just noticed that there are classes on the site now. What a great idea that is!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View HerbC's profile (online now)


1754 posts in 2852 days

#8 posted 10-30-2011 03:02 PM

Betsy said: “Herb – it boggles my mind that you read all of my blogs. That’s amazing!”

It’s sorta like potato chips. You can’t eat just one and after the first one you’re hooked…

I did mention I have OCD, right???


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

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 4118 days

#9 posted 10-30-2011 03:12 PM

Glad your back Betsy! – Missed ya! ....and love the blog & idea!


-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4057 days

#10 posted 10-30-2011 06:22 PM

Glad to hear from you. I’m glad your getting back in the saddle. Go get ‘em!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View drfixit's profile


318 posts in 3137 days

#11 posted 10-30-2011 09:12 PM

I’ve always called my wood working… my saw dust theropy. I can have a bad day, comeout to the shop and make a lil saw dust, and instantly feel better! Glad to see ya getting back into it.

-- I GIVE UP!!!! I've cut this @!&*!% board 3 times.... its still too short!

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3889 days

#12 posted 10-30-2011 09:44 PM

Thanks guys. I appreciate the support.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2595 days

#13 posted 10-31-2011 01:45 AM

Fantastic, I look forward to seeing more.

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3428 days

#14 posted 10-31-2011 02:00 AM

Betsy, I can’t say enough of how pleased I am to see you back. Yes WW and this site in particular is a wonderful place for therapy, especially if you are trying to find some dignity of being able once again to do or make something that is precious to you.
I like many others have I found huge support and friendliness, even though my WW skills are almost nonexistent. There is no better “pick me up” or “medicine” than LJs.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View JimF's profile


144 posts in 3286 days

#15 posted 10-31-2011 11:52 PM

I also read of your adventures (when they were happening) and was saddened to see you sell your tools after your accident and subsequent problems. I’m looking forward to “The Return of the Betsy.”

-- Insert clever tag line here

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

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