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Blog entry by RussellAP posted 02-21-2012 09:08 PM 7221 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m an old blogger. I’ve been just about everywhere and when I blog about my woodworking projects you hear crickets chirp. It’s so good to be in the company of people who share my passion.

I’ve been watching the TV series Holmes on Homes lately, in fact I have all 7 seasons on my PC. I know a lot of you will have various opinions about Mike Holmes, some good, some not so good, but to me they guy is my main source of inspiration. “If you’re going to do it….do it right the first time”. He does overkill some stuff, but he’s on a different planet than we are with funds. But the spirit is there, Make-It-Right.

Who was your inspiration for woodworking or building?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

9 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2699 days

#1 posted 02-21-2012 09:45 PM

Welcome to LJs! Glad to have you aboard.

I wood say that, watching “This Old House” & “The New Yankee Workshop” were my biggest inspirations, along with a few other DIY home improvement shows. I’ve wanted a woodshop for some twenty years! I’m just now, setting up my FIRST shop, in my basement. I do have a blog, if you are interested, about the transformation of my basement to woodshop.

Again, Welcome to our little “Not so Sane” world!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#2 posted 02-21-2012 09:47 PM

Hi Russ welcome to ljs
I guess as a contractor it seems his show does a couple things I don’t like #1 in make people feel like all contractors are incompetent or crooks or both. I don’t feel I’m ether.#2 His show pumps up little things that are not big issues to make it look like Mike is so much smarter than the average contractor. There are bad contractors that don’t know what there doing but it’s not all of us. I know television productions need to dramatize things to keep an viewers.
Mike seems to be a very knowledgeable contractor with high standards ,that’s great.
Please don’t take my opinion as a personal attack we will have to agree to disagree on this subject.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2310 days

#3 posted 02-21-2012 09:52 PM

It does bother me that he trashes contractors. I think he’s run up against a few crooks who took some folks for their money.
For me, working with my hands is my calling in life. I’ve worked the last 15 years in information technology, but the last couple years I’ve had to expand my home for my Father and a couple kids that came back here to live, and I found that I love building more than anything I could have hoped for. It’s too bad that the illegals and the economy have conspired to kill the trades just when i want in.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2511 days

#4 posted 02-21-2012 10:04 PM

I agree… Mike Holmes is a great guy, but…. I tried ‘making it right’. I also tried doing it right in the first place. I also tried not giving a rat’s patootie.

Guess which one paid best?
Guess which one got me the most jobs?
Guess which one cost me the most?
Guess which one had the most call backs?

Suggesting to a client that they use blue wood instead of standard studs and plywood is an exercise in futility, mostly because people aren’t buying/building homes to be a ‘Home Place’. They are buying homes to be a stepping stone to their next purchase.
Real Estate builders have a set amount they can spend for each homesite. If they go over that it quickly becomes unprofitable and they are no longer in business.

Finally, I would be interested in how many of the homes Mike does are actually one of the baseline homes in a development… where everything is built for the least amount of money and still meets code. Remember.. there is contractors grade and then there is everything above that.
Anything that looks extra fancy in a resold tract home was either an upgrade or was put in by an owner. Depending on who the owner chose as the one to do the work says a lot. I have been a contractor that charged high dollar for my work and also been a contractor that just had to make enough to keep my guys working because they have bills to pay also. I won’t say that I cut quality, but at times I have had to work with materials that were substandard although still net code. Saying something to the homeowner about it usually did nothing because now days they don’t see a house as a homestead where they will be the rest of their lives.

On another note, we are really glad you are here! enjoy everything you see and learn a lot!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2330 days

#5 posted 02-21-2012 11:40 PM

Hi Russell, I agree with most of these statements regarding Holmes on Homes, I agree if your going to do it do it right, when I was in construction it was rare, and mainly because the customers did not want to spend the money, I couldn’t do it right if I wanted to get paid, needless to say that was the main reason for getting out of it. Mike unfortunately puts out a message that makes anyone who has ever done any of this work is incapable if doing a good job and that’s just not true. Maybe a nice episode or 2 would be to showcase some contractors that do it right.

As for inspiration, this old house, ( with Bob Villa, the original ones) was a big part of it, but the new Yankee workshop was probably the one that did it. I was always big fan of Norm’s, the main thing I took away from the show was the fact that Norm built everything twice, the first one off camera where he worked out any issues and the second one on camera. I have done that when I am using very expensive wood and a design I am still working out. I will use pine for the first one and do a mock up and then build the finished piece. I never do the mock up with glue just screws so I can disassemble and use the wood again.

I never had my own workshop until 2 years ago, so I finally have all my tools in one place accessible to 24 hours a day. In the past I used a friends workplace, a brother-in-laws basement, and the dining room when I lived in an apartment, ( still surprised my wife didn’t divorce me for that). I now watch the old episodes I have on VHS and when I see one I want to make in 20 or less steps I am in the workshop building it.

Welcome to Lumberjocks, we are a group of woodworkers, that are happy to hear and see your projects, we will offer advice and most of us are happy to get constructive criticism. Never worry about reaching out with a question we are all glad to help.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2511 days

#6 posted 02-22-2012 12:15 AM

Martin …. what I took away from Norm was that I need to have at least 312 routers! LOL.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3580 days

#7 posted 02-22-2012 12:24 AM

My dad was part of what inspired me. He never used plans, did simple ‘necessary’ projects, made do with what tools he had. Watching Norm also inspired me; but like my dad i started building what I though was necessary – speaker stands, boxes for primitive camping, stuff around the house. I like Holmes, it’s a good show.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View helluvawreck's profile


31363 posts in 2890 days

#8 posted 02-22-2012 04:27 PM

I like to watch Charles Neil when I have time. I belong to his site and get his DVDs whenever he sends them out. unfortunately I really don’t have the time like you ought to and build his projects but I’m always busy doing my own thing. I’ve spent pretty much every weekend for a year carving and now I’m working on my shop. However, I still learn a lot watching his dvd’s. I also like Norm Abrams, Roy Underhill, and Tommy Macdonald.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View drfixit's profile


318 posts in 3168 days

#9 posted 02-22-2012 04:33 PM

Ive always liked wood working, but I never was very good at it. My high school wood shop project looked more like abstract art rather than a side table…LOL it wasnt until I relized that the quality of your tools and the knowledge of how to use them made the biggest difference that I was able to make something I was pround of. Love and miss Norm’s shows.

-- I GIVE UP!!!! I've cut this @!&*!% board 3 times.... its still too short!

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