Barrister Book Case Tutorial #4: Allow me to introduce myself...

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Blog entry by Scarcraig01 posted 08-30-2009 03:27 AM 3048 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Finishing up the bases Part 4 of Barrister Book Case Tutorial series Part 5: Rockler's Barrister Slides »

I thought I would take a time out from the tutorial and introduce myself and provide some information on my background and experience.

My interest in building things and tools started around the age of 11. My grandpa was always puttering around in the garage messing with tools etc. and I was often out there with him. Also, a guy in our neighborhood had a Shopsmith and was always working on a project. I use to hang out in his garage for hours and bug the hell out of him!

One day a friend and I took a wood Pepsi crate, and his grandmother’s picnic table bench, and made a go cart. From then on I was hooked on building things! (Grandma wasn’t very happy about the bench!)

When I got to high school I took the two years of wood shop that was offered, and then for two more years went to the shop during study halls. The only pic that I have from these high school projects is this mahogany cradle that I made for my mom. (About a year ago I built her a much nicer one, I’ll have to add a pic of it soon.)

I also graduated from a 2 year trade school that was mostly trim carpentry with a little bit of cabinet making.

After school I got a job in a cabinet shop as an apprentice for around 2 years but I later got out of it mostly because a better job came along that offered more money and better benefits.

Over the years I’ve been involved with the craft at various levels. Just a few years ago I finally went full bore and built a reasonably equipped heated and air conditioned shop.

After messing around with various projects for awhile I decided to focus in on building bookcases. This has turned out to be a good fit because my other passion is books. I have hundreds of books that were piled into gimcrack Sauder termite barf, throwaway furniture, so I thought why not combine the two interests and build my books a respectable home.

So, I tell people that I’m like the guy that bought a $20,000 bass boat to save money on fish! I could have easily bought some very, very, very, nice bookcases with the money that I’ve put into the shop, but where’s the fun in that?

I decided to specialize and learn about barristers because they are modular in design and thus allow me to expand them as I continue to buy more and more books. My current goal is to build enough to house my current collection, I estimate this number to be around 22 barrister boxes.

I’m currently taking time out to build a three tier maple set of barristers for my sister, when this is complete I will return to building mine. I plan to keep the blog going through the entire process.

I hope you will check in from time to time and just say hello, I really enjoy reading your comments and suggestions so please keep them coming!

Post Script:

I almost didn’t share this next pic because frankly its pretty embarrassing! What the heck was I thinking with the tinsel?!? Check out the erector set motor on top of the tin can driving the “propeller” on the back! The piece of old carpet for the seat is a nice touch of luxury though.

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

2 comments so far

View CreekWoodworker's profile


409 posts in 3292 days

#1 posted 08-31-2009 02:45 AM

Craig, Wonderful story, thanks for sharing it. I bet your grandfather wasn’t as upset about the bench as you might think. Woodworking as a hobby can be difficult to justify as a cost saver compared to buying, but I agree building and tool shopping are sure a lot more fun. If you consider the quality of furniture sold in stores perhaps there is a payoff not to mention the “my husband built this” or “my dad made this for me” factor. All very rewarding and worth the cost.

-- Mike ...Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction

View Scarcraig01's profile


72 posts in 3188 days

#2 posted 08-31-2009 06:30 AM

I agree Mike. The idea of craftsmanship and quality built furniture is very well written about in James Krenov’s book titled, A Cabinet Makers Notebook. Its a must read book for anyone taking up the craft!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

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