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Forum topic by Mitchell Blankenship posted 08-06-2010 03:14 AM 1328 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mitchell Blankenship

23 posts in 2850 days

08-06-2010 03:14 AM

Hey their. I’ve been lurking around for a couple of days and thought it time to start my first post. I guess I’ll start with a little background so here it goes. My name is Mitchell Blankenship and I work at Keystone RV as a production worker. I have three kids, a 9 yo son, an 8 yo daughter and a 6 yo son. I am a big geek and currently sit surrounded by computers. I love doing graphics and building / coding websites. With my job I often have to work some crazy hours and since my wife works their too we usually work crazy hours together. Lately my oldest son and really been after me to spend more time doing things with him. I tried teaching him web development and graphic design but his interest just wasn’t their. Then I got him into World of Warcraft, but he had gotten a little to addicted and it’s not really the quality time that he and I were looking for. We spent last weekend driving around and ended up at a local hobby shop and got some information on RC cars. After we got home though I realized I was about to drop $700 dollars on a hobby that still wasn’t what I was looking for.

I discussed it with my wife and told her I would like to go to Menard’s after work and maybe look into some simple woodworking projects. We went and looked around and I found a book with lot’s of information and several project plans of various difficulty and time and tool requirements.

Well we decided for a starter project we are going to build a 5 board bench. I thought it looked like a good project that we can make with the limited tools we have available to us. It’s very important to me that we are able to complete the project using more hand tools so that it will be a little safer for my son to be able to get more involved.

Anyway after talking to my Father (who is a very skilled woodworker) I’ve decided that by spending only a little bit more money we can build our bench from cedar as opposed to pine. I want to do cedar because My son and I plan to give the bench to my Father when we are finished. With it being our first project together and something very special for us we want it to go to someone who will appreciate what it means to us. That and since both of us are named after my Father I thought it just fitting. But either way with the emotional value of this project and the fact that my father loves cedar I think it’s a good choice so that it will last for a long time and just prettier as time goes on.

I plan on taking lot’s of pics of the project and posting them here on LJ’s for all to see. I can’t express how excited I am to start this with my kids and it’s all I’ve been able to think about all week.

In closing thanks to all who welcomed me when I created my account and thanks to all those who’ve posted projects. I’ve spent the last two days going though them and getting inspired.

Thanks all,
Mitchell Blankenship

10 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3071 days

#1 posted 08-06-2010 03:33 AM

It is commendable that you are concerned about quality time with your son and, in my opinion, nothing beats woodworking. My sons are now 37 and 33 and I didn’t take up woodworking in any serious fashion until after they were on their own. I regret that.

Once the bench is done, I would suggest you consider some of the kit projects that are available. I say this because you get step-by-step instructions and the tool requirements are minimal. On some kits you can get pre-cut lumber. That takes some of the fun away but it also minimizes the tool requirements. Check out and see all the clock making kits. They actually rank their kits by difficulty level. offers some kits for making musical instruments and other things.

Best wishes.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Broglea's profile


685 posts in 3088 days

#2 posted 08-06-2010 04:02 AM

Good luck with the bench. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how the project comes out. It only matters that you are spending time with your son. I have 4 sons all under the age of 9. They all spend time with me in my shop. Today, I was trying to finish sanding a dresser I built for my oldest son. He and my second oldest son had asked to help sand it. I really didn’t want the help because I wanted the dresser to be perfect, but I let them help. I can still see some scratch marks on the dresser from their help. Those marks will stay there. Hopefully, everytime they see that dresser they will remember the “shop” time with Dad. I’ll take that over a perfect dresser any day.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2980 days

#3 posted 08-06-2010 04:38 AM

Welcome to LJ’s. Ahh ya, kids and wood a good time to be had. I still reminisce when my daughter was young and in the shop. No matter the project the memories will shine forever. I envy you guys, but as a grandfather I have a grandson coming up in the ranks to spend time with in the shop. Enjoy those precious moments they grow up fast.

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

View Woodwrecker's profile


4148 posts in 3572 days

#4 posted 08-06-2010 06:17 AM

Take some pictures Mitch.
He’ll be your age before you know it, and he’ll treasure looking at when he & his Dad did their first project together.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3461 days

#5 posted 08-06-2010 07:09 AM

Absolutely way to go Dad!!! I can keep my daughter interested in the shop for about a half hour on a good day. Good luck and cherish the time.
OH Yea, Welcome to LJ’s.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3739 days

#6 posted 08-06-2010 04:04 PM

Hi Mitch. You might like to look at this Lowes site for project ideas. You can register ( see the link photo near the bottom right of the web page) and get their project plans and ideas my mail. Good fairly simple projects that would be ideal to do with your kids.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#7 posted 08-06-2010 04:13 PM

Hi, Mitchell, welcome to Lumberjocks. I’m a newbie myself. Good luck with the project. I’m sure that bench will turn out great and that your father will cherish it. I’ll bet that your son will enjoy the experience and I hope that you both will stay in the woodworking.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#8 posted 08-06-2010 04:19 PM

BTW, learning about websites is also a hobby of mine. I’ve been studying websites for about 4 years, now. I have a whole shelf of books about websites and programming and another thing that I do is belong to Lynda.Com and Safaribooks which is run by Oreilly publishing. The courses that puts out are great. Anyways, welcome aboard and thanks for posting.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mitchell Blankenship's profile

Mitchell Blankenship

23 posts in 2850 days

#9 posted 08-07-2010 12:22 AM

Thanks everyone for the welcome and the great suggestions for finding project ideas. Unfortunately we won’t be able to get started as soon as I had hoped. Got hurt at work yesterday and can’t use my right leg fully. Not a safe situation to be working with any tools. On a side not for those of you that are lucky enough to have a dedicated shop space please don’t forget to keep the floor clean and swept. One little slip can ruin your day. Either way though we are still very excited to get started and I really hope to be able to take a lot of pics. Helluvawreck those are great sites. I personally like and railscasts. Peepcode has some really good resources as well and I also love the videos from Jonathan Sampson on his blip channel. They are free and are pretty good. BTW railscasts is all about ruby and ruby on rails and peepcode is mainly ruby and rails but also has some interesting pdf’s and screencasts about other development related topics.

View 489tad's profile


3365 posts in 3008 days

#10 posted 08-08-2010 04:16 AM

Mitchell, Welcome! One of the best memories I have as a kid is waiting for Dad to come home, after a long day a work, and build something together in the basement. He’d let me take charge and I’d cut wood, bang it together with hammer and nails. Great fun. I work with my boys now when they want to and hopefully I can teach them something.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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