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Project by Conrad posted 12-27-2012 09:11 AM 1161 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a project that was started about 15 years ago when I was a child. My grandfather and I were building birdhouses and giving them away to family members, friends and really just about anyone we knew. He had been building them for awhile before he asked me to help and I think he just wanted to spend some time teaching me how to do “guy” stuff. Since I was only a child at the time he didn’t allow me to use any power tools but I did do quite a bit of hand sanding. We had built a number of them and he had made one for his youngest daughter (my mother) his son (my uncle), but hadn’t finished the one for his oldest daughter (my aunt).

It was the day before Easter in 1998 and we were out in the garage working away, I can remember asking him all kinds of questions while we worked. Questions about what tools did and how things were made, I can remember the band saw he had and asked him what it did, he grabbed a scrap of wood and cut a key’d slot in the wood like a puzzle piece and gave it to me and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing in the world at the time. I would ask him all day about what things were, the walls were lined with what I thought had to be every tool in the world and he would always laugh and try to explain them in a way that a 9 year old boy might understand. The day after Easter he passed away and the garage with all the little projects he had been working on were frozen in time for over a decade until my grandmother also passed.

Going back into his garage was like walking back into a time capsule, everything was almost exactly where it had been all those years ago. The walls were still lined with tools, his workbenchs still had half finished projects and the old station wagon he and my uncle had worked on and made into a drag car sat idle. My uncle had been in and out of this place a number of times but nearly everything was left where my grandfather had put it. Everything except for the birdhouses he and I had worked on, I found them eventually in a large plastic tub that had been pushed into a corner. There were several birdhouses in severe disrepair, some half finished ones, and a bunch of the small pieces that he had made.

My aunt who never got a birdhouse had rented a moving truck to clean the house out and the tub went into it and was put in her barn where it sat idle for another 2 years. One afternoon I thought about the things my grandfather and I used to make and decided it was time that my aunt got her birdhouse. After a brief search through her barn my uncle was able to locate the box and I was able to smuggle it home without her seeing it so I could finish what had been started years and years ago.

While finishing the birdhouse I found it was a very effective form of catharsis, and since finishing it I have kept building small things out in my garage, it’s a labor of love and I’m glad that my grandfather spent the time with that bright eye’d little boy who always asked too many questions.


6 comments so far

View patron's profile


13630 posts in 3484 days

#1 posted 12-27-2012 10:09 AM

a wonderful healing memory conrad
thanks for sharing it with us

welcome to LJ’s

good to have you aboard

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Benboy's profile


105 posts in 2404 days

#2 posted 12-27-2012 01:42 PM

very nice. thanks.

-- If I can't make it, I probably don't need it.

View chrisstef's profile


17671 posts in 3149 days

#3 posted 12-27-2012 02:16 PM

What a great story Conrad. You’ll find that many of us here have some sort of a similar story where we learned from our forefathers but were too young to realize how important those times were. Me included. I find it very touching that you smuggled the birdhouse from the barn and finally finished it for your aunt. Keep those tools, both the physical ones and the mental ones, taught to you by your grandfather. They will serve as a constant reminder and a loving embrace. Man i got all soft on that post. Welcome to LJ’s Conrad.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3720 days

#4 posted 12-27-2012 04:04 PM

Great story

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2316 days

#5 posted 12-27-2012 07:26 PM

Classic! You did a fantastic job..

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Conrad's profile


29 posts in 2119 days

#6 posted 12-27-2012 08:08 PM

Thanks everyone, I’ve been lurking here for awhile and finally decided to take the jump and sign up so I could share some of the things that I have made. Thanks for the warm welcome!

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