LumberJocks

Father's Day

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Blog entry by Kent Shepherd posted 06-23-2009 12:54 AM 1135 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yesterday, as we celebrated Father’s Day, I naturally thought of my dad who passed away over four years ago. As I stated in my profile, I grew up working with him in the shutter shop that he started in the early 60’s.
Probably the most valuable thing I learned from him was a strong work ethic. He was raised in a much different society than we have today. People were acutally expected to work for what they had. He bought out an existing business, and poured everthing he had into it. He was not the best craftsman in the world by the standards I see here on Lumberjocks, but sure did a good job at what he knew. I began working with him at a very early age, and would not trade that experience for anything. Looking back, the confidence he instilled in me was incredible. I guess he saw something in me that screamed WOODWORKER. Yet he never really pushed for that to happen, although he sure gave me a lot of opportunities. I don’t know if he really knew I would follow him in the shop, but I’m sure he hoped I would.

I’ll never forget the day I came to work after school my senior year in high school. I had worked part time for a guy refinishing furniture. He had got in financial trouble and sold out to my dad. Long story short, he skipped town with a lot of work on the books. Dad offered me the business, which I took. Keep in mind I was 17 years old. I really relate to the little birds when they get kicked out of the nest, and are expected to fly. Probably not the easiest way to learn, but boy did I learn!

Because of his influence, I thought pretty much anything was possible. Just try to tell me now something can’t be done. Though I have experienced more failures than I care to admit, I think I have always learned from them.

I realize not everyone had a great relationship with their father, but try to see the good where you can. My dad was not perfect, but I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else. Sometimes working with him absolutely drove me up the wall, but I do miss him.

I know this is a woodworking site, but to me this is the essence of my woodworking. So much of who I am in my ability is who he was and what I learned from him, and several other guys like him in my life. I am interested in who influenced you in your woodworking journey. If not for those experiences, none of us would have all these cool projects to share.

So I guess in my rambling, this is my tribute to My Dad.

-- http://shepherdtoolandsupply.com/



7 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3865 days


#1 posted 06-23-2009 01:08 AM

Thanks for your tribut.

My father was a farmer turned larbor when farming turned to crap in the 1940’s. He was a handyman and never turned down any challenge. Never had enough money to have someone do it for him and was going to do it himself anyway.

A great teacher.

-- 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 karsonwm@gmail.com †

View FlWoodRat's profile

FlWoodRat

732 posts in 3373 days


#2 posted 06-23-2009 01:36 AM

Kent, that was a great ‘rambling’. I too thought of my Dad yesterday. He passed away 24 yrs ago and just this past year, I spent a good bid of time refurbishing some of his old hand planes that he bought new in the late 1920’s and early 30s. When I got his old Stanley Bedrock 606 peeling off ribbons with it’s old “Sweetheart’ iron, I could almost sense him smiling.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Bruce

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 2791 days


#3 posted 06-23-2009 01:41 AM

Thanks for sharing Kent….and I am sorry for your loss. I understand what you mean about learning how to work from your dad, I was following my dad around the ranch and job sites as soon as I was old enough to carry a hammer (I did not say swing the hammer…just carry it, lol). He also was raised old school and raised me the same way with the same work ethics….When he gave me a job to do, if I did it well…he let me know, If I did it poorly…he also let me know. Believe me, I much preferred his praise to his “Look” when he was not pleased. I have tried the best I could to be half the dad he was in raising my children and pass on all he taught me about life and work.

-- Don S.E. OK

View DaleM's profile

DaleM

952 posts in 2848 days


#4 posted 06-23-2009 01:55 AM

Kent, thanks for sharing. Your dad sounds a lot like mine, except my dad must have thought I would make a good ditch digger because he had me dig a lot of ditches, drainage, water line, etc., seemingly all summer long. I too worked for my dad, beginning on weekends as a child. He had a small store until all the gas stations locally added a store onto their business and his sales dwindled, then he went on to be an electrician, taking night courses to learn the trade while in his 60s. He had a very strong work ethic and built our house from the ground up. He is still living; 81 years old, and when I called him yesterday he said my sister had just tried to stop him from climbing a ladder to clean out the neighbor’s gutters, but gave in and held the ladder for him instead. Oh, and the ditch digger thing? I joined the Army and was in the infantry for my first few years. I dug my fighting position faster than anyone around I think. I guess my dad knew what he was doing after all.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Rustic's profile

Rustic

3220 posts in 3061 days


#5 posted 06-23-2009 02:20 AM

My Dad was my greatest influence as well. Also all you lumberjocks are now my greatest influence. So to all of you… Thank you

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3041 days


#6 posted 06-23-2009 07:41 AM

Hey Kent
Great story I really like stories like yours it’s a wonderful tribute. I’m always most impressed with the great advise you give and your understaning of woodworking. You Make LJs more interesting and a better place.
Keep up the great posting.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View oldwoodman's profile

oldwoodman

137 posts in 2862 days


#7 posted 06-23-2009 07:46 AM

My Dad, God bless him, is still alive and well at 78. He retired from public education as a school principal, and was sadly missed by most, if not all, of his teachers. He was firm but fair at school and expected all of his staff to do their best while on the job.

I learned my work ethic from my Dad also. Having a large brood of children, he delegated tasks around the house so that all of us would share the work load at home. We learned that our mother was not our slave, although Mom certainly did a lot of work herself. That is one thing I passed onto my sons, that their mother was not their private servant. My sons had to share the workload in our home.

Summertime was not endless days of relaxation. Before Dad left each day to go to summer school, he wrote out a list of chores for each of his children. Once each of us did our chores, the rest of the day was ours to do with as we pleased. Sometimes I did my chores right away, and sometimes my Dad had to remind me that leisure came after the work was finished. Even during the school year, when all of us were in school, we had jobs to do on the weekend. Sunday was the only day of complete rest (once the cows had been milked).

I am grateful for my father and the lessons he taught me and my siblings. And even today, I still seek his advice from time to time.

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