This interview with WistysWoodworkingWonders is from the August 2013 issue of our eMag.
1. How did you first get started working with wood?
My first introduction to woodworking was in high school, although I would probably never showcase the projects I built in school, lol. My most recent start came when I was living in a mobile and the need for some new furniture for my newborn son developed. I was working out of a 14×10 shed with not much space for any type of tools. My first “makeshift” table saw was actually a circular saw mounted upside down on a box I built. It worked ok, but took some time to set up each cut.
2. What was it about woodworking that initially caught your interest, enticing you to get into it at the level you are now?
During my recent days of woodworking, I fell in love with the look of wood as it came out of the planer. I was putting through some dark walnut, and the grain and pattern that came out were stunning, it was this that kept me interested most, as well as the ability to take something from rough lumber into a piece of furniture for my family.
3. Tell us a bit of history of your journey from that beginning to where you are today
My journey started off as I stated above, in my very small shed as a workshop. Eventually when we moved, I worked out of my wife’s garage, but this too proved to be inconvenient as I was always moving tools around and constantly cleaning after each session. After a long discussion with my former neighbour, I was convinced to build on to my house and add a dedicated wood working shop.
Off to the bank for the finances, and several years later, my shop is almost complete. I am still working on shop built cabinets (some of which are already highlighted here on LJ), and I have yet to trim out my shop, lol. Guess someday I will get to that.
4. What inspires you regarding wood creations?
I am not so much inspired as most of my projects are purpose built. If I require a piece of furniture, I design and build it. Pretty simple actually. Some friends have asked me to build them retirement shadow boxes which tested my ability to be creative and cut mitre joints. I am always inspired to try something new which is the reason I built the crib board for my wife – she totally loves it!
5. What are the greatest challenges that you have met along the way? (and how did you overcome them)
My greatest challenges were shop space, which were party overcome by the new shop, although I do wish I built it a bit bigger (I am sure most LJ’s wish they had bigger shops, me too)
6. What is the greatest reward that you have received from woodworking? (personal or tangible)
There are several rewards that stand out from woodworking, so I will highlight my four most rewarding.
First was the crib board I built for my wife’s Birthday, this allowed me to sample some new woods, creative techniques, and challenging finishes. My wife’s reaction when she received the gift was well worth the hours in the shop.
Second was a shadow box I built at the request of a retiring friend. What started off as a simple shadow box, soon turned into a monster shadow box that held two flags, two plaques and his medals.
His reaction alone when he first saw it, was undescribable. He was in the midst of a conversation at his retirement ceremony when I brought it in, he immediately came over and with tears in his eyes thanked me. It was well great to see his reaction!
Third is my poker table – this took a great deal of time to build, but has received numerous compliments from all my friends who come over to lose money to me, lol. Of course, I don’t think I have won enough to pay for the materials yet, but we enjoy our time with our friends playing poker.
Last is a shadow box that I made for a gentleman who works in the same line of business as I do (Royal Canadian Navy). He managed to get my address off LJ’s (through my home page) and dropped by for a quick visit explaining that he was at the end of places to search for a shadow box to highlight his parents upcoming Canadian Citizenship. After a brief discussion, we came up with a game plan and I set to work on modifying an already built shadow box (time was very short on this one). He certainly appreciated the quick work on putting this one together.
7. What is your favourite tool that you use for woodworking?
My favorite tool in my shop is probably my planer. This is where I first get a glimpse at the beauty of the grain of the wood I am using.
8. What is your favourite creation in/for your woodworking?
My favorite creation from my woodworking so far is my poker table. Can’t say enough about it, please read the write up on my LJ page for more info about this build.
9. What tips would you give to someone just starting out or currently struggling with woodworking?
The tips I would offer are these: 1. When buying tools, save up and buy quality tools, they are well worth the investment. 2. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. 3. Follow the rule of thirds; one third is project building, one third for sanding, one third for finishing. 4. Always maintain focus when working with power tools. 5. If you are having a bad day in the shop, get out and start over the next day, it is better than adding piles of wood to your burn pile.
10. How did you find LumberJocks and what is it that keeps you coming back?
I stumbled on LJ by google search. Although I don’t remember what I was researching, I found a picture which led me to a fellow LJ’s site. That night, I spent at least 2 hours surfing the site and was hooked! I created my own account soon after and started checking out everyone’s amazing projects. What keeps me coming back is both the quality of projects and the amazing people on this site.
There are so many LJ’s that are not only great woodworkers, but great advice-givers as well. The forums provide an excellent means for researching options for everything from finishes, to how to videos.
All in all, I am very happy to be a LJ. Please enjoy the tour of my shop and send me any feedback you wish, I am always open to learning new tricks!
Thanks, Steve, for taking the time to do this interview.
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)