My One Year on LJ's---THANK YOU ALL!!!

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Blog entry by Napaman posted 03-28-2008 04:23 AM 1033 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My One Year…Thanks LJ’s!!!

Well…this morning when I logged on I thought it said 364 days which would mean I had a whole day to go and ponder my past year of projects…then after a full day of work in the yard I came in to check the new projects and it suddenly said that I was on day 365…so if you are really BORED…read on…but since I haven’t written many blogs…well I got a little wordy…

First I want to say thanks to all of you in the LJ’s community…one year ago I was a new wood worker and a new subscriber to Popular Woodworking. I saw an ad about a table contest in the magazine… I knew I wasn’t ready but checked it out and discovered sooooo much more then I could have dreamed on the LJ site…now one year later—-and maybe 4 contests since…I have still not finished a contest project on time…but I have gained so much more. LJ’s has been a lot more important then the woodworking!

The best part of this “one year” for me is that it is happening during my spring break…as a full-time high school teacher, father of 3 and lest me not forget full-time husband my shop time is very limited during the school year…but this past week I have spent around 30 hours working very hard on 3 projects all at once. So the best part is that I have been thinking about all the lessons I have learned this year over the past week…and really enjoying my time…the other day I was in the shop until 8pm and only decided to go in because I was getting tired…

One of the reasons why LJ’s has been so important to me…is that I have often gotten into things (running, cycling, backpacking) only to let them fall by the side over time…so I was really worried that I would start this new hobby and then not continue…but I think the LJ community has really made me want to learn…ask questions and share the experience…I remember when I told my wife we should save money on the outdoor furniture and just let me spend the money on tools…and she laughed but my friends…she is not laughing anymore—-even she is beginning to believe me when I say I am gonna build something…kind of…lol.

When I started a year ago I had NEVER USED A TABLE SAW…I cant tell you how scary that was—-I remember years ago in middle school shop we were not allowed on the table saw…just the band saws, scroll saws and hand tools…

Now I have TWO table saws…lol…I took a safety class through Woodcraft and boy I feel so much more comfortable—-I still take my time and think everything through to be safe, but it is not the intimidating feeling I used to get when I started…

The funniest thing—today I was in my back year digging out a 6foot by 3 foot hole—-for drainage in my back yard—-though not woodworking project—-I would have never tried this on my own…(figuring out the drainage issue of my yard)…

And last summer when my car battery died…did I have my car towed to the shop…nope…I went down to the auto parts and got a new one…this may sound funny to all of you—-but I told my wife—-“I gotta do this myself…I am an LJ.” I have always been afraid of electrical charges since I got shocked very badly when I was a kid…and doing things like jumping a car battery has always really scared me…

The most important part about this year was during the time I started looking into buying a Shopsmith…for me…with limited funds and a very small workspace this was a huge decision…I was trying to watch videos and learn—but it was many of you who encouraged me and helped me with the pro’s and cons…WayneC…the big dog was amazing…sending me links on craigs list and e-bay daily (or practically) and giving me helpful ideas…no one came on and berated me…just gave me the truth so that I could weigh my options and decided with the best information…

In the end I went from an inferior table saw and band saw to a full range of tools…it has taken me almost as long to learn them…and learning everyday that I am in the shop…but it has been so nice to have this…again…there is no way I would not have these tools without all of you…my shopsmith has been perfect for my needs…

This week I am nearing completion of two HUGE planters that I started back in AUGUST…they are being finished with stain…and then I will put a couple coats of spar varnish on them…they have been driving me crazy because they are so huge that each time I work on them I have to move one out and a bunch of other things out…but I didn’t give up…

While the stain was drying I started a baby swing that I will finish constructing this weekend…

Ok…if you have read this far—-seriously—-THANK YOU…I am very certain that I would have given up long ago on the first few projects—-but know all of you are here…and soooo willing to help and encourage has made me persevere and want to problem solve…

I cant wait to finish my recent projects…the funny thing—-not just because of the people they will help—-but because I want to share them with all my LJ friends…

My goals for the next year:

• Continue to grow and learn…on my existing tools
• Learn more about my router—-still haven’t used it with the table
• Make some PENS (never used my lathe—-sooon WAYNE)
• Take some more classes…
• Just keep having fun…

Well…when next week starts—-will be down to 50 days in the school year!!!! And then I will be in my shop everday!!!

Peace, thanks…Matt

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

14 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 04:56 AM

Hi Matt,

Congrats on your one year anniversary. Your blog was not boring at all. I really enjoyed reading it.

Just keep on having fun.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4091 days

#2 posted 03-28-2008 05:23 AM

Hi Matt,

Happy Anniversary to you AND to Panama Jack – today is both of you guys Anniversary. It has been a learning experience, for all of us. I will hit that bit #365 in about 12 days. Time does fly when you are having fun.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4014 days

#3 posted 03-28-2008 05:36 AM


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

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 3978 days

#4 posted 03-28-2008 05:45 AM

Happy Anniversary and that was a good blog brother. Continue to have fun and be safe.

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

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4111 days

#5 posted 03-28-2008 06:07 AM

HI Matt,

Great Blog. We all have been where you are at one point or another. It took me a long time to come back around to woodworking. I too had taken up and dropped various other hobbies but always seem get pulled back to the wood.

Congrat on the anniversy, Keep posting, reading and asking, we’re all in this together.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4299 days

#6 posted 03-28-2008 07:26 AM


I really enjoyed reading your blog. It says so much about yourself as an individual willing to learn and take on new and different things and accomplish your goals. It also says a lot about the Lumberjocks community being willing to help where every possible. Keep up the great work and keep posting. As Greg says we are all in this together.

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

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3900 days

#7 posted 03-28-2008 11:38 AM

Happy anniversary. I enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for articulating what a lot of us feel.

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4231 days

#8 posted 03-28-2008 02:12 PM

Hi Matt;
—-what a great year and inspiring story you have bloged//penned//had….

I would say that your past year has been busy for you in-deed and even now I can hear you counting those last days down to ‘more’ shop time.

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View pipes's profile


57 posts in 3742 days

#9 posted 03-28-2008 02:26 PM

Hi Matt

Happy anniversary. I enjoyed reading your blog. Looking forward to your project pics.

-- Larry

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4103 days

#10 posted 03-28-2008 05:54 PM

Thanks everyone…it has been a really great year…my only regret…my 365 came before my planters were/are done…I may finish them today—-366…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4056 days

#11 posted 03-29-2008 02:16 PM

Happy Aniversary for today – Don’t forget this is a LEAP Year. I look forward to start seeing the fruits of your labour in 51 days time. Good luck for the future

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4008 days

#12 posted 03-29-2008 05:24 PM

looking forward to seeing your project postings.

its always nice to read your comments too.

enjoy yourself !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4186 days

#13 posted 03-30-2008 05:48 PM

Happy Anniversary!!! What a great year it’s been for you.
And I have a new motto: “I gotta do this myself…I am an LJ.”

(Actually there have been a few times in the past year where “being a LumberJock” has inspired me to do something that I otherwise would not have attempted.I couldn’t let the group down! – even if they’d never know. I AM a LumberJock!)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4103 days

#14 posted 03-30-2008 06:26 PM

Debbie…I cant tell you…and the LJ community how true this has been for me…many of the LJ’s come to woodworking from back grounds that are close (carpentry, construction etc)...for me…I was the first person in my family to get into CAMPING and Backpacking…Gardening 8 years ago…and my return to woodworking was from fond memories of middle school woodworking class—-25 years ago…

This past summer we started a big backyard makeover and ran out of time before the new school year…and money, lol…so all our projects have sat from demolition phase…so the attitude that I (we) can really do this has been built up over the past year from listening, and learning from this wonderful community…

So although I have been slow to post—-GET READY…the can-do attitude has been present this week while we were on spring break…got a lot done…

The best part—-I want to finish soooo bad so i can start posting these projects…I want to share with all of you so much so you can all see I am learning…its a neat feeling!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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