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A Tribute to the Man who taught me...

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Blog entry by Derrek LeRouax posted 05-28-2009 01:58 PM 959 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About a year ago, my grandfather approached me about building a project with him in his shop. He had done this many times before, but the arrogant kid/teenager/college student never had the time. However, this time I jumped at the idea. I don’t know if it was the timing, the project, etc… but everything seemed to work out.

To understand the importance of this, you have to understand that my family is not one of those “close-knit” family units. Everybody is divorced (some a couple of times), and have moved on with their lives in different places, mindsets, and/or ideals. Pretty much the only one that provided me any kind of constant in my life was my grandfather. Through my entire life, he seemed to be there on the sidelines pointing me in the right direction. I owe him a lot more than this project.

We decided to build a front porch glider out of “Texas” cedar. Over the course of the next seven months, I visited him (two hours away) on Saturdays as much as I could, as I have my own family now. We would work for as long as my grandfather’s 86 year old body would let him, and then we would drink his home-brewed beer till it was time for me to leave. Great days.

I have attached some photos of the glider “in-progress”. Simple, yet pleasing to the eye; and I couldn’t ask for more.

Glider
Glider
Glider
Glider

Two weeks after we completed the assembly of this glider, my grandfather had a mild stroke and lost the use of his left eye. His grand shop is more of a storage area these days, and he longs for the time when he felt comfortable running a table saw… I go visit him as often as I can, but it is never enough. I hope I can pay tribute to him through my life in working with wood, and I know I’ll try.

Thanks for reading this…

-- Derrek L.



18 comments so far

View lew's profile

lew

10024 posts in 2406 days


#1 posted 05-28-2009 02:25 PM

Beautiful Glider!!

What a grand tribute to your grandfather, he must be very proud of you.

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

View bowyer's profile

bowyer

340 posts in 2047 days


#2 posted 05-28-2009 02:36 PM

Great looking glider.

-- If at first you don't succeed...Don't try skydiving

View Rustic's profile

Rustic

3134 posts in 2247 days


#3 posted 05-28-2009 03:02 PM

Love the glider. I always treasure the time I have with my Grandfather.

-- www.carvingandturningsbyrick.com, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Cory's profile

Cory

723 posts in 2070 days


#4 posted 05-28-2009 03:06 PM

Great story, Derrek. I hope you’re able to continue his legacy and pass that love on to your grandchildren one day.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3964 posts in 2714 days


#5 posted 05-28-2009 03:12 PM

Attaboy Derrek. It’s a handsome piece and your time with your Grandfather is a precious commodity I’m glad you shared with us. I’m hoping to rope my grandson in early, and keep him coming back. I will probably have to wait until he can form sentences (He’s two in August), but being patient is a Grandpa’s stock-in-trade!

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

View Splinterman's profile

Splinterman

23058 posts in 2012 days


#6 posted 05-28-2009 03:19 PM

Cherish the memories and the skills he has past on to you…......he has your best interest at heart.

View patron's profile

patron

13033 posts in 1992 days


#7 posted 05-28-2009 03:28 PM

a real tribute , i’m sure he’s proud , and hope he’s well too !

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

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2299 days


#8 posted 05-28-2009 03:40 PM

GReat story, I hope he find confort in the fact that you’re picking up on his work. that is a beautiful glider. sounds like a lot of heart went into making this one.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Derrek LeRouax's profile

Derrek LeRouax

129 posts in 1945 days


#9 posted 05-28-2009 03:47 PM

Gentlemen,

Thank you for the encouragement. Since my grandfather’s stroke I have been out to his shop twice and I try to soak up all that I can. As he says ” I’ll drink and talk, you work.”

My son is two and half, and we have a little girl on tha way. My son is named after him, and I pray that one day I can be to thier children what my grandfather was to me.

Thanks again.

-- Derrek L.

View HD_woodchuck's profile

HD_woodchuck

30 posts in 1938 days


#10 posted 05-28-2009 03:48 PM

Beautiful glider, love to see pics of the finished project!

And as for the tribute … I think your grandfather probably cherished the time you spent / spend with him more than you know. I didn’t grow up with a grandfather, and my father and I weren’t as close as most, however, the interesting thing was that my Dad and I both took up woodworking at almost the same time (of course, at different stages in our lives) so we actually used WW as a connection, something to talk about.

Now I live about 9 hours from my Dad, so I don’t get to “visit” with him nor do I get any Shop time together, but I envy you for that.

Spend as much time as you can with him, you’ll both appreciate it more than you think!

-- "The German is like a willow. No matter which way you bend him, he will always take root again." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn -

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2177 days


#11 posted 05-28-2009 04:02 PM

Many years from now if the glider becomes unusable, save a small piece of the wood, your grandfather will always be there…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View CutNRun's profile

CutNRun

122 posts in 2497 days


#12 posted 05-28-2009 04:37 PM

My father died when I was in the third grade. My grandfather lived one block away and stepped right into the void that was left. Even though he died nineteen years ago, I still miss being able to chat with him and enjoy his companionship and quiet humor. He was a typical Kansas dust bowl era farmer who could tackle just about any project, just using common sense and patience to get through it. He was without question the finest man I’ve ever known.

-- CutNRun - So much wood, so many trails, so little time

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5361 posts in 2236 days


#13 posted 05-28-2009 04:39 PM

A nice looking piece well done>Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112070 posts in 2228 days


#14 posted 05-28-2009 04:47 PM

Hey Derrak
That’s a wonderful story , we sometimes take family for granite, A well built nice looking glider.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2044 days


#15 posted 05-28-2009 05:33 PM

It’s a beautiful tribute to that man, the bench is gorgeous and I think your grandfather desire to leave you his craftsmanship skills has been fulfilled. Thanks for sharing this precious moment in your life.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

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