Journey into Woodworking

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Blog entry by sdwrage posted 07-03-2011 06:16 AM 1473 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Seeing as this is my first post, I probably should elaborate on who I am and what I do for a living. My name is Justin Lonas and I am a Web Application Developer (i.e. guy who works on websites). I have been doing web development for over five years and, until recently, was content with the work that I have done. It wasn’t until I moved from Florida back to my quaint home town of Athens, OH that I really started getting a feel for where I wanted to go in life. Growing client expectations and elaborate logical designs with my web work started weighing heavy on my mind and I desperately was seeking a more creative and fulfilling outlet.

Recently my fiance had decided that she wanted a new bookshelf to replace the particle board mess that we claimed as our book nook. I didn’t want to purchase yet another flimsy Walmart knock-off and I wanted this bookshelf to be all wood as wooden furniture tends to last longer… but… wooden furniture was expensive. I took this as a chance to drive three nails with one hammer. I hustled to Lowes where I rustled up some help from an employee on wood sizes and a simple design for the bookshelf. He imparted to me a nice staggered shelf design that would prevent wood sag and also gave the bookshelf a very creative look.

After purchasing the wood and necessary tools, I attempted to take what little I knew about woodworking and set out to the task at hand. The first attempt led to a very unstable and uneven bookshelf. I decided to borrow a higher powered drill (wired) and redo the design by working on the shelves before the frame itself. This proved to be very helpful as I was able to align the shelving units side by side and place the supports evenly. After all was said and done, I had a very sturdy bookshelf with a few imperfections.

Am I sad that I made those imperfections? of course not. It allowed me to realize that I am learning from my mistakes. I worked as best as I could with what I knew but those problems that did crop up allowed me to grow as a woodworker and avoid future mistakes. What did I walk away with? well… lets just say that pilot holes are invaluable to preventing the cracking of wood as well as the gaps created from the screw pushing the secondary piece of wood.

What now? Although I am an amateur, I do come from a family that does love to work with wood. My father did a bit of woodworking himself. We decided to do a bit of woodworking as a side income and, eventually, as our primary source of income. We believe by living in a college town that we may have a bit of an edge in the way of niche furniture (bars, pool tables, etc).

Here’s to hoping ;)

-- "Wisdom comes not with age, but with experience. For the man who lives a sheltered life is not as wise as the boy who dwells in the forest"

11 comments so far

View Nick's profile


87 posts in 2817 days

#1 posted 07-03-2011 06:32 AM

Well welcome and good luck with your woodworking.

-- Nick, AZ. Wood is a canvas for God's art work, it is our job as woodworkers to figur out the best way to display it.

View sdwrage's profile


15 posts in 2484 days

#2 posted 07-03-2011 06:33 AM

Thanks! :)

-- "Wisdom comes not with age, but with experience. For the man who lives a sheltered life is not as wise as the boy who dwells in the forest"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4125 days

#3 posted 07-03-2011 01:25 PM

a wonderful story.
I checked out the bookshelf, (or is it a cat feeding station?) and it looks wonderful!!

Congratulations and good luck with the future opportunities

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Chipy's profile


374 posts in 2558 days

#4 posted 07-03-2011 01:33 PM

sdwrage welcome to lumber jocks.I envy you moving back to Ohio.My wife and I live in Florida and wish we were back in our home town just out side buffalo NY.I will bet you have a ton of great lumber sources there in Athens!I have been doing woodworking professorially and for a hobby for quite a few years and I find great ideas and tips on Lumber jocks all the time! There is a wealth of knolge on this site enjoy tapping into it LJ’s can mid-agate some beginner mistakes and save you some lumber as well.I see from your post you have the right attitude for this hobby so if there is any thing I can help you with just drop me a line Scott AKA Chipy

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2831 days

#5 posted 07-03-2011 01:57 PM

May you always be happy in your work. Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2948 days

#6 posted 07-03-2011 03:46 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks,

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View sdwrage's profile


15 posts in 2484 days

#7 posted 07-03-2011 05:37 PM

Thanks for the warm welcomes everyone! If any of you have a twitter or facebook you can find me at:


Chipy, I moved down to Florida when I was about thirteen and lived there for about thirteen years. Hated every minute of it. I need my trees and my seasons. Also people tend to be kinder here as well as less judgmental (I have facial piercings). I hope you, one day, get a chance to move back north. I am so much less stressed since I moved :D

MsDebbieP, Thank you! Took me about 3-4 hours to finish it :) I want to varnish it but is it safe to varnish afterwards? I would probably have to use a polyurethane varnish so it doesn’t well up near the bottom.

-- "Wisdom comes not with age, but with experience. For the man who lives a sheltered life is not as wise as the boy who dwells in the forest"

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2516 days

#8 posted 07-04-2011 02:38 AM

Congrats on making your way into woodworking. I’ve dabbled in web dev myself, and can’t stand it. Typically I find people want to be the next amazon or google, but don’t know what they want things to do or to look like, much less what is required to do what they want. Woodworking, on the other hand, is all about what you want, and finding something beautiful within your materials. If you sell what you make, you can always retain that “selfishness” and others are willing to buy your personal creations.

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3899 days

#9 posted 07-04-2011 02:58 AM

Justin, a great posting and the bookcase looks pretty cool. I do like the staggered design. Good luck with the side business. Looking forward to seeing the next project.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View sdwrage's profile


15 posts in 2484 days

#10 posted 07-04-2011 05:19 AM

BobTheFish, Exactly and thanks :)

clieb91, thank you!

-- "Wisdom comes not with age, but with experience. For the man who lives a sheltered life is not as wise as the boy who dwells in the forest"

View CoolDavion's profile


434 posts in 3789 days

#11 posted 07-31-2011 04:48 AM

I am also a web guy, and find woodworking to be a creative tactile outlet that is totally different from my job.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

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