How I Got Started in Woodworking

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Blog entry by fred posted 03-09-2007 12:06 AM 957 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First, I want to thank the LumberJocks who welcomed me and also made comments on the first two projects I posted. Thanks to oscorner, MsDebbieP, Bwillie, dennis mitchell, Max, Karson, Todd A Clippinger and Obi. And many thanks to the others not previously acknowledged. You sure do make a person feel welcome and at home.

My grandfather was an architect and was always building something around the house. My father was very handy as well. I first built a dinghy sailboat (like a Sabot) from a kit. I used my paper route money to buy the kit from Sears. I was about 11 years old. I took a woodshop class in the 7th grade. From there I just did things around the house like remodeling, building decks, pergola, brick work, outdoor cookcenter and the like.

The real woodworking venture started 6 years ago when my wife gave me a Delta contractor model tablesaw for Christmas. I told her I didn’t need a tablesaw. She responded by saying…”Well, you can use it to make the dining room cabinets you said you would do.” I guess you can’t argue with that logic.

It took me 3 months to clean out the garage before I set up the tablesaw. I took all the plaster down, insulated every wall, added wood T11 siding to the walls and an electrical subpanel.

Most of you know you need some practice first. I bought some books and decided to practice making cabinets for the garage. I could always use more storage and keep some things out of sight. The garage cabinets were out of pine. Didn’t want to try anything else because of the expense. It is no longer called the garage – - it is the shop.

After about 7 months of practice, I measured up the space in the dining room and drew up some plans on graph paper. I made 6 upper cabinets (4 with glass doors) and 6 base cabinets. It is not really a china cabinet but more like a built-in buffet area. I added lighting and did a tile counter and backsplash.

Since then I have made an entertainment center, baby cradle, cutting boards, wine holders and small boxes. My current project is a cherry blanket chest for my daughter. I hope to share these projects with you.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

12 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3819 days

#1 posted 03-09-2007 12:32 AM

A very understanding wife. You can always throw it back at her when she says that tool is too expensive or you have too many tools.

Just say, “You got me started on this!”

Isn’t making sawdust fun. But, the best part is the pieces left over between the saw cuts and the sanding dust. And sometimes you even put a finish on it so its easier to clean the other dust off of it.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3579 days

#2 posted 03-09-2007 12:45 AM

that’s quite the story.
You made a boat – and you were 11.
(bowing to your commitment and maturity level).

Gotta love those wonderful, supportive, inspiring wives :) :) :) :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3733 days

#3 posted 03-09-2007 01:22 AM

Looking forward to your projects.

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

766 posts in 3593 days

#4 posted 03-09-2007 02:41 AM


Sounds like you started off on the right foot!

Becoming a LumberJock – another step in the right direction!

Enjoy the journey.

-- Ethan,

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 3746 days

#5 posted 03-09-2007 03:37 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks… thanks for sharing your story.

Glad to hear the garage is now heretofore known as The Shop. Good news! And your wife can never begrudge you your time there… she got the ball rolling afterall!

Looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 3656 days

#6 posted 03-09-2007 03:47 AM

Gotta love a woman that either buys you tools or tells you that you need more tools. (I got one o’ them).

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3516 days

#7 posted 03-09-2007 03:51 AM

How about a woman that buys her own tools.

: ^ )

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View oscorner's profile


4564 posts in 3730 days

#8 posted 03-09-2007 03:56 AM

You’re welcome, Fred. What tool is your wife buying you next? Maybe one of these: WoodMaster 18 For a larger picture see my workshop!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3579 days

#9 posted 03-09-2007 01:38 PM

hey that’s me—I’ve bought my own tools!!! :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2008 posts in 3824 days

#10 posted 03-09-2007 05:16 PM

loved getting to know a little about you, and look forward to hearing more. Wives have a way of presenting the “facts” of the situation, don’t they.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View fred's profile


256 posts in 3517 days

#11 posted 03-09-2007 06:01 PM

My wife definitely triggered my start in woodworking with the table saw. Since then my son and daughter have conspired with her and bought me a Porter-Cable 690 fixed based router and a Porter-Cable finish nailer. They always seem to think of a project I can do with the tools they give me.

I added a plunge router base to the 690. I earlier bought a small brad nailer that works quite well but when I was installing some crown molding the finish nailer worked out just great.

That’s all my family has given me, so far. But one can drop hints. Last weekend I was in the shop (where else) and my wife comes in and says…’what’s that?’ So I naturally started to stammer and said that’s a planner. I then proceeded to tell her about all the cutting boards I made (at her urging) and I needed the planner to help in the project. I got that special look and an ‘OK’.

Since she knows I am in the Shop and not hanging out in the Sports Bars, I guess it’s OK to acquire tools. One of these days I will make a list of the tools and share them with you.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 3580 days

#12 posted 03-09-2007 06:08 PM

What a great story Fred. It serves as inspiration for all of us to get building.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

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