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Blog entry by mctiger posted 04-14-2008 07:54 AM 646 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I look forward to listening and talking with all of you about our woodworking world. Thank you for the welcomes! I am an old timer, and I enjoy making toys, shaker-style furniture, and finish carpentry work.
I started woodworking about seventy years ago in my father’s little shop. He was sort of a jack-of-all trades
and we worked on lots of different projects, mostly with hand tools. I came to really appreciate clean, sharp
hand (and later machine) tools, because my father insisted that I use only hand tools until I was around
eleven years old. We built a few wooden rowboats, and the only machine used was an ancient cast-iron tablesaw with which father ripped the clear air-dried white pine planking. We filed and honed plane irons and chisels. We filed and set the teeth of our rip and crosscut saws. We split white oak logs and shaped stem and ribs with a drawshave and cabinet scraper. We drilled small holes with an eggbeater drill and larger ones with a bit brace. We surfaced and jointed boards with hand planes. My father joined the Navy right after Pearl Harbor, and became one of the first Seabees who went to the Pacific to Guadalcanel to rebuild Henderson Field. He was a carpenters mate. When he came home after the war, he became the woodworking teacher at the grade school in town. Then we started to expand our shop at home, and I got to use machines. When I started building more complicated projects, and ran into bigger problems with joinery and finishing, he would watch from across the bench and remind me that our creed was the Seabee moto “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer”. After High School, I enrolled in the Industrial Arts program at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts, and became a woodworking teacher. I had the good fortune of spending four years with Walt Harrod, Woodworking Guru at Fitchburg State. I now work out of my own shop which occupies the second floor of our barn in Barnstead, New Hampshire. I do all sorts of woodworking, and use all sorts of machinery, but still use the same hand tools which I started using all those years ago and really enjoy the quiet, familiar feel, sound, and smell of dustless shavings coming off the boards. Thought you might be interested in “the way we were”.

-- Bobby

5 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3409 days

#1 posted 04-14-2008 08:00 AM

I look forward to seeing your posts in the future! Welcome.

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3243 days

#2 posted 04-14-2008 11:44 AM

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for the story. I am sure that the lessons you learned from your father and formal woodworking experience have served you well. You are blessed to have had these in your life. Most of us tend to be largely self-taught and, as such, miss out on the mentoring opportunities similar to those that you were exposed to.

I, too, am looking forward to seeing your projects. Welcome to LJs, again.

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

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3195 days

#3 posted 04-14-2008 12:04 PM

Hi Bobby

Very nice story. It must have been nice learning and working with your dad. I to, taught Industrial Arts for only 5 years and then went to work for 35 years in Prison Industries. I was a designer/builder and supervised the custom wood divdision in three different states. Did all their proto tying and bidding for the high dollar customers. Welcome!

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 3520 days

#4 posted 04-14-2008 03:57 PM

Welcome to LJ! Thanks for the background story. I look forward to more!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View HallTree's profile


5663 posts in 3188 days

#5 posted 04-14-2008 06:23 PM

I love story’s like this. Reminds me when I worked in the shop with my dad and granddad back in the ‘40’s.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

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