Ponderings #2: False Start? Or Divine Intervention?

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Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 01-06-2008 02:56 AM 1009 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Great Wide Open Part 2 of Ponderings series Part 3: Inching Closer to Building »

My childhood was…unique. Now, before I get to far into this, let me let you know this won’t be a post about how I had a crumby childhood or anything. It may be true at times, but it wasn’t necessarily because of my parents. My mother was great, though a little odd. She was an artist though, and that seems to go with the territory there. My Dad was never a contender for Father of the Year, but he tried and that’s what counts in the grand scheme of things.

One thing my Dad did try to do was teach me about working with wood. When I was a young child, I got a kid’s workbench. It wasn’t particularly sturdy, but it was real. It had a real front clamp and a peg board back with real tools. I tried a few small projects but nothing really happened. This was about the same time that Dad was trying to talk my mother into letting him get a Shopsmith. One tool that would do it all. Dad wanted it bad, and Mom just didn’t believe that Dad would use it. He had a habit of getting started in something, throwing tons of money at it, then losing interest. I sometimes think that Dad got me the workbench for Christmas that year with the idea that it would convince Mom he was serious. It didn’t work.

Mom and Dad split in 1995. I was in the Navy at the time, but about to get out. Mom and I were talking about my interest in woodworking, and the Shopsmith came up in conversation. She recalled how badly Dad wanted it, and how she felt that he should start building with the variety of tools he currently had. I remember the Shopsmith demonstrations that were held at the local mall. It was the coolest piece of equipment I had ever seen. It could do anything and everything. Still, Mom held her ground.

This got me thinking though. Could that purchase have gotten Dad into woodworking? If so, what would that have done to me? Dad had a habit of trying to teach me something, and getting me so flustered that I wasn’t doing it right that I would never want to touch it again. I couldn’t cut wood with my little saw from my workbench kit, and Dad would critique my technique. In truth, the saw may have just been dull. The chisels didn’t work right either…they were dull too. All of this was right out of the box…and probably a cheap one at that. No wonder I had trouble with it. However, Dad said I wasn’t sawing correctly.

Had Dad gotten that Shopsmtih, would I have been forever turned off from real woodworking? My brief exposure with hand tools didn’t banish the though of hand tools from my mind in adulthood, but perhaps if Dad had become a serious woodworking, it might have. He might have insisted on me using the Shopsmith at some point. I might have found a talent for it, and worked with it for ages to come. I might have had an additional 20 years of practice with it. However, it’s possible that I would never be here today, gathering my tools for a new workshop. Perhaps if he had, I wouldn’t be interested in crafting fine furniture that the world has never seen before.

Who knows. However, right now I’m just happy to be where I’m at right now. In the grand scheme of things, I wouldn’t change a thing.

-- "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!

6 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3957 days

#1 posted 01-06-2008 05:02 AM

Huh, I guess we’ll never know.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4309 days

#2 posted 01-06-2008 05:04 AM

It is just my feeling, but if he really wanted to work wood rather than own a fancy tool her would have produced with what he had. My first piece of furniture was a 6 foot wide 8 foot high book case built with just a jig saw and a drill. Put together on the front porch. That sounds a lot like me and my dad. What I did get was an early interest.

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3791 days

#3 posted 01-06-2008 05:12 AM


I have to agree with you. I’m going to make do with a 6×6 shop and I’m happy with that ultimately. I don’t need a $2000-$3000 tool to build stuff.

Of course, I’m not telling my WIFE that ;)

-- "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 dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4309 days

#4 posted 01-06-2008 05:16 AM

When I look at the musical instraments Woodenkitchen built in a motel room I’m pretty impressed with what we can do with less.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#5 posted 01-06-2008 01:18 PM

isn’t life interesting.. with the twists and turns… I believe that they turn out the way they are meant to…. there are so many times where I think that things would have been better if… and then I see all the positives that came out of it… “if that had happened, then I wouldn’t have gotten to do this…”

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3869 days

#6 posted 01-06-2008 02:48 PM

Minus the shopsmith you just described my dad. Other than golf he would lose interest in things pretty quickly. My grandfather, on the other hand, was a craftsman, was patient, and liked to teach me. He built me a kid’s workbench that got used until I went into the Navy. When he passed the whole family agreed I had first dibs on his tools. I still have a Toro drill press, circa about 1950.

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