Jan. 5, 2008
Thanks to Cajunpen I remembered that today marks my one-year anniversary here at the LJ shop.
It has been an interesting year, filled with surprises. Last year, on this day, I thought “give woodworking a try and see if you like it”. I had no background in woodworking, no mentor to copy, no woodworker or creations as an inspiration—just an appreciation of wood surfaces.
I didn’t know what I wanted to make or how I wanted to make it. The only tools we had, worth mentioning, was Rick’s table saw and router, and a cordless drill. When I joined the site I soon became inspired by the possibilities and my love of wood became stronger, as I listened to the words of “my fellow jocks” talk about the process, the fine points of woodworking, and the love of sawdust.
Soon after joining, I dragged (well not really dragged) Rick to a wood show and I got to see the tools. I was drawn to the scrollsaw and I decided that it was to be my “tool of choice”. I had never seen one in use… just an end project or two at the displays. I was in awe. And so the journey began.
The journey—well there were two journeys that began that day. 1) the process of actually working with wood and 2) the journey of stocking the shop area with tools.. and more tools…. Once I had made my first little something or other and I became more aware of the possibilities, I knew that I needed more tools. (Oh the slippery slope!!) And we bought a mitre saw (my favourite tool), and then a drill press (Rick’s “need”), then a planer and jointer… then a bandsaw (Rick’s other “need”)...then the Ridgid Drum/Spindle Sander …and then the dreaded routers (but we won’t rehash those stories)..but.. the router difficulties did result in my purchase of my first (interesting that I just typed “first”) plane… a router plane by Lee Valley. Love it!!
We had the tools… now we just needed to build! My little exploration projects were small and basic and I was pleased. And then came the Thorsen Table Challenge. “You can do it” everyone said…. “Give it a try”. .. Ok, if you say so… and I did. I made my little table and I was shocked that it didn’t wobble. It now sits proudly at my back door holding a plant or the phone, whatever I feel like in the decorating moment :)
After that success, well, my fellow Jocks wouldn’t (and won’t) let me backslide and say “I can’t do that”. They push me (unsuccessfully at this point) to make a Maloof Rocking chair, a bed for my daughter, an instrument, a rocking horse, a drawer… and oh, a small wooden box… the list is endless. I have learned to watch what I say or they are adding a new item to my build list. Things that are way beyond my abilities (or so I think)...
Recently, inspired by some of the new members who are busy with their scroll saws, I have sat back down at my “tool of choice” and, having found some wood that is easy to work with, I have created a few pieces of scroll work and have loved the process! I do believe I was right that it was to be my “tool of choice”.
Last month, I even used the bandsaw for the first time and that was exciting because it opens up the door to a lot of other possibilities. My first creation will never be forgotten… by anyone, it seems.. it has a place in LJ history: the snowman, made of “painted walnut”. Ok, Ok. Ok.. I’ll never make that mistake ever again. You can paint pine if you have to but never, never, never paint walnut. Ever!!
And so here we are today, looking back over the year at my woodworking journey and, although I haven’t come far, I’ve come a long way! I haven’t built any big furniture; I haven’t made my rocking chair or bed, or rocking horse, or musical instrument or anything else that I am being coerced into making :) .. but I have learned so much.
AND… we can’t forget that I am now writing the monthly eMag for LJ.com. Who saw that coming? Certainly not me. I just wanted to see if I liked playing with wood. Over the past year, not only have I started writing the eMag but I have also interviewed a few company representatives. What an honour it has been to chat with the presidents and vice presidents of companies, the entrepreneurs, publishers, and inventors.. I still brag about having chatted with Robin Lee! Even non-woodworkers are impressed with that!
AND… I’ve also chatted with the founder of a woodworking community – the famous Martin Sojka. And that truly has been an honour (what a wonderful (and brilliant) young man he is!!!) I’d like to give my thanks to Martin, not only for this amazing site but also for putting up with my ongoing and lengthy list of ideas, and for being so kind and asking me to write the eMag. Also, thanks to all the LumberJocks who made me feel welcome when I first joined – never once did I feel like I wasn’t capable or that I should keep my beginner questions to myself. Why, I was never made to feel like a beginner—I was just one of the gang learning about woodworking. And thanks to all the LumberJocks who make me feel welcome and part of the family, each and every day that I log on.
365 days… I know that it is going to be another exciting year. Thank you everyone for letting me share this journey with you.
(Oh.. and Tom- I know… no pictures. didn’t happen) It must have all been just a dream.
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (http://www.execulink.com/~yohan)