This interview is from the April 2011 issue of the LumberJocks’ eMag. Thanks to Dennisgrosen for taking the time to do this interview.
1. How did you first get started working with wood?
it all started i think the same summer my parents build their house; I was on summer vacation at my uncle and aunt’s and he had this lovely basement with a lot of different handtools – a candystore to come down into for me. Even today, I wouldn’ be able to tell you what half of the tools was used for and were. He was a real DIY-man, a man of all trades sort of.
When I was there that summer I got this weird thing over me – I wanted to make a box to my mother as a gift and my uncle said, “okay here is the bench and a 4×4 piece of pine ….build” ……BOOOH I said and hoped he would show me how to and he did. Probably the worst box ever made …LOL but it had small brass hinge and a brass hook as a lock and a tiny little room inside,
not big enough to have a pair of earrings in.
The day I was going home to my parents he came with a little gift and said this is yours now, hope you can use it. The room inside was made with the two chisels there was the gift. He must have seen something in me …LOL
Later we got Sloyd (= woodworking in the elementery school) and learned to use frame saws, planes and chisels. Little by little, 2-4 hours a week, we made a bunch of small projects that the teacher said we should make and were told what tools we were restricted to use, building up the confidence of the young people :-) In the rest of the school time until I stopped at 10 grade, the last year I made a simple relaxing chair and a sofa table / coffee table of my own design sort of
done only with unplugged hand tools; the only power tool we was allowed to use was the drill press.
The next many years it was more or less only DIY work on 8-9 houses beside my parents. I refurb/restored, together with friends, and building R/c airplanes and the last twelve years on my own house.
A couple of years ago I really got interested in woodworking, in a sick period, and at the same time I was without a job but fortunately I had my computer and start searching the net both to learn new things and to search for woodworking tools and how to maintain them, then a weird idea of one day in the future making one or two planes myself …:-) In that two year period I learned more about tools, DIY, and woodworking than the in first 45 years of living
2. What was it about woodworking that initially caught your interest, enticing you to get into it at the level you are now?
I was tiring of only doing DIY work and the only magazine we can get in my country, when I started to buy it, had one or two real woodworking projects with pictures and the article but then they switched to only DIY articles about house refurbing so I was glad to have the internet to search on :-) and we have no place in Denmark as far as I know of where we can walk in from the street and buy good hand tools like planes and chisels but I still remember, not so much the building, but how proud I was and the feeling it gave me every time I used my homemade furniture. I guess you will have the same experience if you try to make a hand tool yourself and use it in the shop :-)
3. Tell us a bit of history of your journey from that beginning to where you are today
After I had discovered that I actually had been bit by the woodworking bug many years ago
and got the virus back, then it kept coming back with shorter and shorter periods
saying, “go for it go for it” with a bigger and bigger voice and after I discovered LumberJocks and a few other sites + you-tube a couple of years ago the hunger has been ever growing, but on a real tight budget it’s going very slow but fortunately I have been able to buy used tools (you can see how in my bragging tool gloat series .. lol) and now I have started to restore them little by little so they are ready for the day I get a real shop in a new place
4. What inspires you regarding wood creations?
I still don´t know yet, I think, with all the great projects I see here on LumberJocks and a voice screaming, “I want to make them all, every single one of them.” I know there are some categories I probably never will attempt to make do to the fact that I´m not artistic at all but I do admire those who can carve and scroll in free form and make sculpture art. But for the moment I look more at shop/tool projects and I think its natural in this stage that I am building up a tool collection and figuring out what I want to work with and how I will work in the future.
5. What are the greatest challenges that you have met along the way?
The greatest challenge beside a toooo tight budget …lol….is a personal thing and really hasn’t much to do with woodworking. It is my ability to write and read in English correctly and fast enough. Its the same in Danish don´t worry ….lol— but that has something to do with a car accident back in 1981where I had to start from scratch of learning to walk, talk, read and write again. It did take me nearly 3½ years to get out of the wheels and back to work
but I still have constant back pains…..a minor thing that’s just bugging me :-)
The best defense to these kind of troubles is to attack them with the head high and a good sense of both humor and black humor and to laugh a lot; the bigger smile you can keep on your face the easier/faster you go through it.
And thanks to all LJs – you have helped me a lot every single day just by being who you are
6. What is the greatest reward that you have received from woodworking?
I can only say that it must be the journey when making the project. I know what I said
before about the feeling of using a homemade thing, but from the days when I flew with
R/c airplanes it wasn’t so much flying with them that I liked, of course I was proud when they actually could fly the first time I tried them, but where most R/c pilots would maybe use 100 hours in the building process I probably would use 6-700 hours on the same plane and did :-)
In other words, this thing of making something with your own hands help me to
relax and find myself again after stressing on the job
7. What is your favourite tool that you use for woodworking? 8. What is your favourite creation in/for your woodworking?
As a totally newbie myself to the woodworking trade, still more or less struggling with the first board of pine :-) I can honestly tell you …..I don´t know yet, except if you count the computer, internet and handbooks for tools :-)
9. What tips would you give to someone just starting out or currently struggling with woodworking?
As a newbie I don´t think I’m the right person to answer that …. but none the less
I will try to give my humble opinion.
Read, read, read, ask, ask, ask, learn, learn, learn and the best way is of course to have a master of the trade with good teaching skills by your side :-) Not many of us have that opportunity but you can take short classes, read books see video’s, and exchange knowledge and ideas with other woodworkers and when you think you have the knowledge of one thing on the hard disk
in you brain, then practice and practice again and again and again. Every time you gain new knowledge you still have to work with the old skills. Keep on trying to make things a new way, even when you think you have a full proven way of doing it.
Wow that was a mouthful and I still have to figure out if it works …. LOL … but I have been told so many times here on LJ and in my own country that is how you expand your skills ….. so I guess we have to believe them … :-)
10. How did you find LumberJocks and what is it that keeps you coming back?
On my big journey through the internet I stumbled on The Woodwhisperer, Charles Neil and Tommy T-chisel on you-tube, among others, and many of them had their own website/homepage to go to and a lot of them have links of interesting/related links box. One day I had seen a few of Woodwhisperer´s video´s I thought, ” what is this Lumberjocks link and what is behind it” .... after all I had seen the link on other great woodworkers site too … so one day…. well I had to try
......wow was that an eyeopener to see so many beautiful projects in one place. So after having been lurking through all the 12-13000 projects a year was gone by and I finely joined LJ :-) and have never looked back since. I still look at other sites, don´t worry :-) but such a warmer welcome and finer people I have never seen on other forum sites.
What is it that keeps me coming back several times a day? ..... beside its a very well build site, that is very easy to use, with an exceptional number of extremely well made projects and blogs
then it is you LJ´s for being who you are. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional or a newbie like me you are always willing to share both knowledge, histories and life experiences with each other and always helping if someone needs it.
This social thing of hearing about members visiting each other, Lumberjock picnics /meetings/ shows is fantastic. Maybe you are crazy but finer people to hang out with can’t be found on any corner :-)
I´m proud to call you my friends even though I haven´t meet you yet :-)
Thanks for being who you are and for keeping on making LumberJocks the best site to join.
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (http://www.execulink.com/~yohan)