I wish this were a wood gloat.

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Blog entry by Derek Lyons posted 01-28-2011 03:55 AM 1890 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Sometimes, seeing some wood can bring complex emotions…

My father-in-law was a woodworker, and when he died we were faced with what to do with his shop, I wasn’t a woodworker at the time so we had little use for his tools and stash of wood. So we gave his tools away to some woodworking friends of ours (and took a lot of flack from relatives for not selling them). His wood stash ended up in a friends barn with the idea that I’d trade wood for woodworking.

Some of wood was indeed traded off as planned, but most of it just sat in the barn. In time I became a woodworker too… The friend who has stored it all these years is in the process of remodeling his shop/barn, and knowing my remodeling was essentially complete, he asked me to come get it. (Fair enough, it’s been six years.)

Today we unloaded the wood into my shop.

(The left hand stack is pine. The next one over is oak – there are three more boards just like amazing one on top. The next, Alder – some if it spalted. Finally some walnut and maple.)

Handling the wood brought back a rush of memories. I remember being in his shop as Dad worked on a project. He was a careful and thorough woodworker who got great joy out of building things for the house and for those he loved. He’d smile the biggest happiest smile you ever saw as he thought about the recipients using and enjoying the fruits of his labor.

Here in the house we have so many things that Dad built… within arms reach is a bookcase he gave us for our first anniversary. In my shop are two sets of shelves he built for the storage room in our first house. He built the coffee table I rest my feet on at the end of day, and lamp the lights our living room. (And they were in his living room for many years.) In my wife’s studio are two shelves he built… And so much more throughout our house.

I’ll forever be forever saddened that the tiny spark of interest in woodworking he ignited didn’t flare into a fire until it was too late to learn from him. Thank you Dad for that gift.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

13 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18394 posts in 3879 days

#1 posted 01-28-2011 04:01 AM

interesting story Derek. The same thing happens with genealogy. Those who could easily answer the questions are gone by the time the next generation begins to wonder and take an interest.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View clieb91's profile


3521 posts in 4138 days

#2 posted 01-28-2011 04:16 AM

Derek, A great story and from the sounds of it a great man. It is good that you have those things around you and your family to remind you of him and his passion for the craft. I would say even though he has not seen your work and abilities it is a great tribute to him that you have taken up the craft and are reminded of him as you do it. His wood stash could be considered a belated welcome gift to the craft, I am sure you will find some projects to do it proud.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3213 days

#3 posted 01-28-2011 04:41 AM

I’m sure he’s smiling down on you, thrilled (and probably not surprised) that you followed suit.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3310 days

#4 posted 01-28-2011 05:09 AM

Some of us just stay green longer and need more time on the vine to ripen. Very touching story. With all that wood, now it is you turn. Enjoy. Rand

View depictureboy's profile


420 posts in 3846 days

#5 posted 01-28-2011 05:58 AM

Its the way of things, by the time I got to the point I wanted to do things with my dad, he was gone several years. I keep trying to think of ways to honor the gift he gave me, and I know the only way to do that is to be a good father to my children as he was to me, even though my knowing it came too late.

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

View swirt's profile


3437 posts in 3175 days

#6 posted 01-28-2011 06:23 AM

A touching story. Time to build something and smile the way he did. ;)

-- Galootish log blog,

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3377 days

#7 posted 01-28-2011 07:02 AM

Thanks for sharing that story, Derek.

Brought a tear to my eye.

The wood, and the projects you make from it, will always be special to you.

-- -- Neil

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 3572 days

#8 posted 01-28-2011 04:17 PM

Derek, feel the same way. Had a bunch of tools and things my grandfather had when I was young and we moved. I was not a woodworker then ( I was 21) but now I wish I had a third of them. I know we gave alot away, so I always hoped that the gentleman who got them used them with pride, as I know he is now on up in years. Wouldve shouldve couldve…......

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3253 days

#9 posted 01-28-2011 06:16 PM

Derek, I’m sure you’ll do your father proud in using the wood just as he would’ve, something that will stay in the family, and something you either use or look at and reignite fond memories with your father. I’m sure you’ll come up with some special pieces o build with this wood.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3473 days

#10 posted 01-28-2011 07:10 PM

Great story…and oh soo true. My dad did not catch the woodworking bug from his father….instead I did. I have only a couple surviving tools of his….he did not have a shop full of power tools….though he was a serious craftsman. We do have lots of his furniture and items though to remember his work (most are still in the same shape as the day he finished them)....that is one of the finer things about woodworking – The items you make will in all likelyhood remain after you are gone to remind folks of your dedication and skill….(at least I hope that is my legacy).

Enjoy using the wood….make things you enjoy and keep his memory alive. Nothing would be better for any woodworking enthusiast.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18394 posts in 3879 days

#11 posted 01-29-2011 04:08 AM

This thread makes me think of my grandpa and how my wicked uncle Joe cleaned out their house and shop. He hauled everything to the dump! Old family pictures, grandma’s diaries & letters, all of grandpa’s tools. He had a turn of the last century wood and blacksmilth shop. He could do most anything he needed right there on the farm. The uncle wanted to destroy any potential evicence of how he tortured them ;-(( Glad you are catching the bug before it’s all gone. Any chance of recovering any of the tools since they did belong to your family? Most reasonable people would understand. At least I would hope they would.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3771 days

#12 posted 01-29-2011 07:03 AM

I’d never ask for them back Topomax, they were given in good faith. Some things have come back, but I’ve never asked,

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View woodzy's profile


418 posts in 2882 days

#13 posted 01-29-2011 07:10 AM

Thanks for the story. I am sorry for your loss.

-- Anthony

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