Woodworking? Or Carpentry?

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Blog entry by Dekker posted 10-12-2007 01:34 PM 1106 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am reminded once again about the difference between woodworking and woodworking.

To the lay-person, anytime you take up your hammer, nails, saw, glue and wood, you are practicing the art of woodworking. At least that’s the way my wife sees it, and when I suggested that I was going to spend some time in the workshop this weekend to play with a box design I had dreamt up, she immediately suggested that I do one of the other woodwork projects that need to be done such as the bathroom cabinet/counter.

You see, she doesn’t quite realize exactly what it is that I love about woodwork. I love the small projects. I love the independent pieces that can stand on their own. I even love furniture such as my recently completed bedside tables.

What I don’t really love is the OTHER woodwork, what many refer to as carpentry or construction carpentry. Remodelling basements is not really my idea of fine art (I will have to post my basement remodel as a project someday). I can almost accept creating a bathroom vanity as being acceptable, especially if done in a good quality wood and not melamine. But general household maintenance that just happens to use a hammer is not enough to satisfy my desire for tinkering with wood.

So as the fall season is just starting, let me suggest that you all get out to your workshop or garage, and tackle a small project that you can finish in a couple weekends. If nothing else, it will get your juices flowing, and it can stand as a demonstration piece to your significant other as to exactly what kind of woodworking you really love!

-- Dekker -

14 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3929 days

#1 posted 10-12-2007 01:44 PM

I understand your feelings. Mentally, it helps to find joy in any project where we can use our skills. If you build an outhouse, make it the best outhouse and let it contain some of yourself. I find I have to “jack myself up” mentally to get the mundane chores done with a hammer. However, I make sure that I take a moment when finished to admire the end result and think about how it fixed a problem.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4278 days

#2 posted 10-12-2007 03:16 PM

This is probably the one time that our better halfs use logic against us. Logically your wife needs the bathroom cabinet/counter done. You on the other hand are being controlled by your feels(as is the case with her normally, maybe?). Wives seem to want a tangable item of use from any hobby we have. If we fish, they want to see fried fish on the table when we return from a day of fishing. If woodworking, they want to see projects that are important to them come from the monies spent to support that hobby. The key, as always, is to find a way to please her and still meet your need to explore your creative side. Maybe you can incorporate your box design into her cabinet/ counter? I wish you the best and hope you can find a way to do both, so both of you can be happy.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4265 days

#3 posted 10-12-2007 04:44 PM

”If you build an outhouse, make it the best outhouse and let it contain some of yourself.”

I could not agree more, Thos. I am currently working on some home renovations so that I can sell my house. I make sure every project, small or large, is done to the best of my ability, and I’m proud to say “I did that”. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard phrases from friends (and especially my girlfriend) that start with the words “Why don’t you just…...”. They don’t see the point in doing it right when it’s much easier to just cover something up or rig up some kind of “quick-fix”. I don’t know if they’ll ever understand why I do things the way I do, but that’s ok because I know that there’s almost 2,000 Lumberjocks that do.

Oh by the way… am I the only one that sees the double meaning in the part about letting the outhouse contain some of yourself? ;-)

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View joey's profile


396 posts in 3871 days

#4 posted 10-12-2007 05:02 PM

after doing carpentry work near 30 years now all I got say is AMEN!!!

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View Dekker's profile


147 posts in 3848 days

#5 posted 10-12-2007 05:09 PM

JPW, I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, so I always try to do the best I can. Sometimes it’s my wife who says I take too long to do such-and-such, but she doesn’t realize the steps required to make it “just right”... Of course, she DID like the basement renovations I did… it’s just that I get more pleasure from making a dresser than I do from installing a dividing wall or pocket door.

-- Dekker -

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4265 days

#6 posted 10-12-2007 05:35 PM

I completely understand. Trust me, it’s hard to keep cutting 45’s in a bunch of quarter-round when right behind me is a whole shop full of tools that I could be doing so much more with. I feel your pain, brother.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4128 days

#7 posted 10-12-2007 05:45 PM

a typical story of hobbies /venus vs. mars. (My intention is not to paint “stereotypes” or to say that this represents every man/woman/couple/family. It is an observation from past experiences:

I worked in a teacher/parent resource centre for many years and we had our regular visitors who came in on a weekly basis. The women would say “this is girls’ night out”—and what were they doing? Making things for the children/students/families. They were “working” at a hobby that created something for the family, while chatting with their friends at the same time.

“Men’s night out”, on the other hand, tends to be hanging out with the guys, playing … not doing things for the family. Men know how to relax by going fishing, golfing, hunting, playing cards… They know how to take that much needed break from “life”.

So when “we” add the honey-do items to your hobby list, be patient.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dekker's profile


147 posts in 3848 days

#8 posted 10-12-2007 05:53 PM

<grin> Here’s a piece I wrote elsewhere, not too long ago. It’s funny how things are related:

Ah, there’s nothing like tackling another home improvement project over a weekend, and what could make that project better than by sharing the experience with your loved one so you can both bond while the sawdust flies…

According to a recent survey sponsored by Dremel, 44 percent of men felt that “working on home improvement projects with another family member strengthens the relationship.” Meanwhile, only 31 percent of women feel the same way. These home improvement projects are rather wide-ranging, including projects like building a tree house or fixing a squeaky door.

What I’d really like to know is whether those stats run on the assumption that the person taking the survey actually wanted to participate in the home improvement project (i.e. was the initiator of the project) or was a hapless victim of the family, being drawn into an undesireable use of their time?

Assuming all parties were willing, it’s interresting to note that men feel that sharing these types of tasks can build relationships.

Something tells me, though, that vacuuming and mopping floors are not included as a sub-category of home improvement.

-- Dekker -

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 4060 days

#9 posted 10-12-2007 06:03 PM

Dekker -

I understand. I’ve been in on starting two different Habitat for Humanity affiliates. At first, I thought it would be great fun building houses. And don’t get me wrong – it’s a blast working in such a great self-help minstry with low-income folks forced to live in sub-standard housing. But it wasn’t long before I realized that I really don’t enjoy the framing, trim work, etc. of building houses. I want to swing a hammer, but about a day of framing is enough. Then I wan’t to build the furniture that goes in the house! Unfortunately, a house full of custom furniture would put the house beyond the partner family’s ability to pay for the house.

-- Paul, Texas

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4128 days

#10 posted 10-12-2007 06:10 PM

perhaps the difference in stats comes the “fact” (I know there is a statistic out there somewhere about this) that women still do 80% (or something like that) of the household chores, even if they are working outside the home. In that case, that last thing I’d want to do is add another chore to my list. ... my words would probably sound something like “can’t you do it by yourself? I have a dozen other things to do!”

Also my favourite tool to use with clients is Gary Chapman’s “Love Languages”. We give/receive love in different ways: some by giving/receiving gifts; some by saying/hearing words of acknowledgment; some by giving/receiving physical contact; some by doing/receiving acts of service; and some by spending time together, without regard what the activity is.

so, building someone a box is a gift of love; asking someone to build it WITH you is a gift of time; fixing a bathroom door is an act of love…. The difficulties arise when the recipient of this love speaks a different language: “you built me a box? (gift) .. that door still needs fixing! (service) ... result? Feelings of disrespect and lack of love. .. or “you want me to build this WITH you?? (time).. a waste of my time… if you really loved me, you’d tell me! (words).... result: conflict. ...

Anyway.. I kinda got off topic :) I love talking about relationship! lol

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Dekker's profile


147 posts in 3848 days

#11 posted 10-12-2007 06:41 PM

Actually, it’s not entirely off topic. It deals with the issue of woodworking, and how it is percieved/accepted by our significant others, and what they actually expect/envision of our talents.

-- Dekker -

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4044 days

#12 posted 10-13-2007 12:49 AM

I hear ya . . .

Oh . . . MsD you just clarified a whole bunch of things.

This is a neat thread. Im glad I dropped in on this one.

-- BLOG -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4128 days

#13 posted 10-14-2007 02:58 PM

I’ve saved a few marriages with this philosophy—and lots of “mother in law” issues!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4368 days

#14 posted 10-14-2007 04:50 PM

Wood working and Working with Wood can be the same.

My father grew up as a farm boy and became a farmer himself. He moved off the farm before I was born so I don’t know much about what he did there but his woodworking was fixing and making better the farm / office. He might have hammered together a stool or a bench but I don’t know.

But, i learned my woodworking from my father. Even if it was remodeling and fixing up things. When you can’t buy it you fix it up.

When we moved from Canada to the USA in 1956. Dad bought a 4 room house 20’ X 20’. 4 – 10 X 10’ rooms with the bathroom and kitchen taking up one 10 X 10 quadrant. We moved in and Dad added on another 10 X 15’ addition on the back to make the kitchen bigger and to put a table in it. We lived there about 6 months before he bought a bigger house. It’s tough fitting three kids and 2 adults in 2 bedrooms.

Dad built a little workshop off the 2 car garage where he put in a wood stove and we used to pound things together there.

After I got married and moved away. I taught him the finer knacks of making toys and puzzles with a bandsaw. He used to make them and sell them at craft shows and at the senior citizens center. he never made furniture but he was my mentor, and I was his.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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