Charlie Brown … dad’s shadow

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Blog entry by Teri posted 02-06-2008 09:48 PM 2659 reads 2 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My dad was a sheetmetal worker in Des Moines, Iowa. And he could build anything. If you know of Woody’s work, you can find it in many places in the area, including the gold leaf work on the state capitol building. I always idolized my dad and believe he has played the biggest role in how I live my life. Working with my hands and a love of woodworking started in my early childhood as I learned from my dad.

From my earliest childhood memories, I was my dad’s shadow. I could even be found sleepwalking out to the garage to sit near him as he worked late at night on building our camping trailer. At that stage in his life, he still didn’t have any sons. So, I quickly became his “boy”, including answering to his nickname for me, Charlie Brown. To this day, many of the people he worked with, still call me Charlie.

Saturday mornings, always started with me sitting at the kitchen table at 4 a.m., waiting for my dad to leave for the shop. I ALWAYS begged to go along. While he worked on job quotes, I could be found at his drafting table, shear, brake or workbench, working away on MY projects. Only stopping long enough to ask Dad for 10 cents to buy a bottle of Mountain Dew from the dust-covered soda machine in the back corner of the shop. By age 10, I was able to solder, weld and bend sheet metal into something recognizable. I absolutely loved the feeling of accomplishment when making something with my hands. And I believe that is when I developed a love for the raw materials (especially copper and wood) and the beauty they contained.

My first real project with wood was making a birdhouse (a wren house) with my dad. I got to nail it together. I was so excited, you would have thought I built the whole thing myself. After that I refinished a piano bench for a 4-H project, and the rest is history. I always knew that woodworking would be one of my hobbies.

Like many things in life, my woodworking hobby went on hold for many many years. But now, as my children are grown and gone, I find I have time to get back to some of my passions, dreams and goals.

Although my dad is no longer living, when I walk into my workshop, I can feel my dad’s presence and I know he is proud of Charlie Brown.

-- Teri, Kokomo, IN

31 comments so far

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 3981 days

#1 posted 02-06-2008 09:53 PM

Very heart warming story. Good luck and welcome to LJ.

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3825 days

#2 posted 02-06-2008 09:54 PM

Great story. Anything that connects us to loved ones who’ve passed on is a good thing in my book!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4017 days

#3 posted 02-06-2008 10:05 PM

Great story!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3968 days

#4 posted 02-06-2008 10:41 PM

Yes, a great story. It’s quite a tribute when a parent has that kind of influence. Welcome to LumberJocks.

-- Working at Woodworking

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4343 days

#5 posted 02-06-2008 10:51 PM

Thanks…that is the type of story that mades woodworking more than just making sawdust.

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4302 days

#6 posted 02-06-2008 11:39 PM


I can really relate to your story. Although my Dad was a body and fender man. He too taught me about working with my hands and how to appreciate the crafts. I lost my Dad on Dec. 20th of 2007 and I know that when I am in my shop he is there also…..still helping and showing me the right way….

What a great story, thank you so much for sharing….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Teri's profile


88 posts in 3791 days

#7 posted 02-06-2008 11:52 PM

So, everyone, what/who influenced you to take up woodworking?

-- Teri, Kokomo, IN

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 3903 days

#8 posted 02-06-2008 11:54 PM

Great story and welcome!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3802 days

#9 posted 02-06-2008 11:55 PM

Heart felt story Teri,,,,,,,Welcome to Ljs

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3991 days

#10 posted 02-07-2008 12:05 AM

That’s a dandy tale.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Splinters's profile


190 posts in 4212 days

#11 posted 02-07-2008 12:13 AM

Welcome Teri to LJ’s….looking forward to seeing your projects….
go here where I talk about my influence to spend my time doing woodworking.

-- Splinters - Living and Loving life in the Rockies - -

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

770 posts in 3937 days

#12 posted 02-07-2008 12:19 AM

First let me welcome you to LJ like everyone else.

My influence came from my great uncle who got me started when I was 7 years old. My dad passed away when I was 5 and my uncle became my father figure. I can remember the first ptoject I ever worked on was an oak kitchen hutch for my grandmother. Over the years it has been passed down thru the generations and it now resides in my dining room. It is not perfect but i would not trade it for anything in the world. To this day it still has our signatures on the back panel and is dated August 10, 1971.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View jcees's profile


1060 posts in 3828 days

#13 posted 02-07-2008 12:21 AM

My father was quite adept at the handyman’s side of the woodworking. He had few tools but the one’s he had were substantial and kept sharp. I like to think that he would be proud of what I’ve done to he and mom’s house. I got the house after mother passed and kept cars in the garage for years. What was I thinking?

I started working wood after picking up a copy of Fine Woodworking magazine. After that, it was checking out Norm on Saturday afternoons. I also became enamored with the tools used in working wood by hand. I haunted flea markets and swap meets looking for anything old, sound and rehab ready.

I’m a lifelong student so digging into a subject was easy via Fine Tool Journal, books by Percy Blandford, James Krenov, Aldren Watson, Franklin Gottshall and Tage Frid. After that, I was toast. As such, I am totally self trained. My father taught me valuable lessons on working smart; proper stance, keep things sharp, maintain the tool and it will perform as designed. These lessons have served me well on this self guided tour into arte du bois.

Amazing how much of life you have time to enjoy after the progeny becomes self amusing. I have friends that waited till middle age to have a family… crazy. So welcome, Charlie Brown, come on in, the water’s fine.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View gene's profile


2184 posts in 3912 days

#14 posted 02-07-2008 12:46 AM

Teri, (Charlie Brown) Welcome to the LJ’s Family. Your dad, is proud, I’m sure. Now, let’s see you build something!
God bless

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

View John Patterson's profile

John Patterson

3 posts in 3791 days

#15 posted 02-07-2008 01:08 AM

Teri, Great story. My dad was a farmer. He repaired or made everything himself. I think that was from being raised during the depression. I learned woodworking,blackingsmithing, auto/tractor repair from him. Wish I had retained half of the thing he taught me. He was my best friend. I have a whole heart full of memories of times spent with him in the shop. Thank you for making me think of them.

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