Ever have a Spouse, or Family Member(s) who can't stop complaining about your hobby?

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Forum topic by newbiewoodworker posted 01-14-2011 10:03 PM 2301 views 0 times favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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668 posts in 2852 days

01-14-2011 10:03 PM

In my case its the later…hopefully the former won’t come about until I am 80 or so… lol…

It seems all my family does is complain about my woodworking. And I offer solutions… just not the ones THEY want…

For example:

My grandmother, and my father, both will not stop complaining about me leaving the INSIDE garage door open. It allows the heat from the house, to trickle in, to help warm up my space, a little faster. Because my heater, unfortunately, is trying to thaw out Antarctica… And its about 10,000,000,000,000BTU too small…
—So I offered them the solution: I said, “I know leaving the door open causes alot of heat to go out the window… or door in this case…; If you would like to buy the foam board, or atleast go in 50/50 with me, Ill gladly insulate the space, to help lower the heatloss.” My father’s answer… “No, its fine.”
——Okay… so In this case, the family wants its cake, but to be able to eat it too. They don’t want the heatloss, but won’t spend the money, a small portion of what it costs in heatloss, to help solve the issue. Okay, so its a “We are going to complain, but not going to help you solve the problem” Situation. I would do it myself. But the cost of putting up foam board, or batts and drywall, would cost me mucho dinero. I think somewhere in the $3-400 range.

Todays example:

My father says to me, on the way home from school “You need to clean up the dust, before you do any more woodworking. Its getting on my floor.” “Okay, I told you I was going to do it this weekend, I don’t clean in the middle of projects.”.
-I then also offered the solution: If you would like to run the needed dust collection, that might solve the issue. Again “No its fine.”... well apparently its not fine, because you guys don’t stop bugging me about it. “Sorry Father, but machines make dust…. and I don’t have the systems in place, nor the money, to do so.” “Well maybe cleaning more frequently would do it”... well… gee dad, don’t you think I would if It would make a difference… The planer shoots shavings all over, there is no possibly DC for Circular saws, or sanders, nor for my Mitre box, the way I have it now…
—-Another case of the previously mentioned.

So my question: Do any of you have family, or spouses, that just can’t seem to understand the workings of your hobby.

This wasn’t intended to be a rant

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

50 replies so far

View RSmike's profile


29 posts in 2714 days

#1 posted 01-14-2011 10:19 PM

My little misses doesn’t appreciate the amount of work needed to make a rough cut board into something that can be used to make furniture. I have about 1000BF of rough oak. There are days that I just want to run down to the big box store and buy something ready to make into something. Seems like a spend most days just making sawdust…. as my wife says….making big boards into little boards.

And it’s a hobby not a catalog store where you put your order in and it just shows up…. It’s a hobby and sometimes I just don’t feel like playing with my power tools….


-- Mike

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2718 days

#2 posted 01-14-2011 10:33 PM

I can certainly relate as to where you’re coming from, but if I may, let me make some assumptions and offer alternatives to keep waters calm-

It seems like you’re in your parents house (?) using space they’ve allotted to you in their garage. As a homeowner, I know the cost of keeping a house warm, let alone heating uninsulated space. It seems like if they’re willing to let you use their space, they don’t really owe you anything in terms of going 50/50 on insulation or dust collection. If its your hobby, you should put up the funds to continue in it. I know cash is hard to come by at times, so you might have to come to a compromise at some point, but doing your share and beyond will more than likely make your dad feel generous. If you have a birthday coming up, ask for some cash to install insulation in the garage, not merely as a hand out. I can’t think of a guy out there that wouldn’t want an insulated garage, but it might not be priority enough to warrant him spending anything.

All in all, just keep a good attitude about stuff and you never know when it might get rewarded. Respect your dad and grandma and you just might end up with them meeting you half way.

As for cleaning up, its always a good idea to sweep up and pick up scraps after every WW session. It takes all of 5 minutes and your fam doesn’t have to put up with tracking sawdust in, as well as you have a nice, professional place to work (believe me, it boosts mental clarity and morale having a clean shop).

Good luck!

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3460 days

#3 posted 01-14-2011 10:37 PM

Amen superstretch.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17425 posts in 3032 days

#4 posted 01-14-2011 10:38 PM


Im not trying to be a jerk or whatnot .. but my old man always had the same line for me when i didn’t like or want to do something while i was living in his house …his answer was always “Why? Because i pay the mortgage”. I think you just need to play by their rules, while you may not see dust or heat loss as a problem, he obviously does and you should try to see his point of view on things. I know when i have to cough up $900 for oil every 2 months during the winter i want it to last as long as possible.

Getting him to see your point of view is another issue all together. You obviously have a hobby that you enjoy which is great, im sure you could be out gettin in trouble, smokin grass, or drinkin booze but your not .. kudos to you. I think if your dad or family sees you puttting in the time to keep a tidy shop and trying to keep everyone happy they will begin to embrace your hobby with you.

Next time your working on somethin ask the their opinion .. do you like these woods together? should i rout a profile in the edge of this? Open up the lines of communication and things will smooth out, heck maybe the old man will give you a hand sometime. In time you will have your own dedicated shop to your hobby, i know it feels like its forever away but time will pass and your hobby will still be there, along with your very own shop.

Be easy newbie.

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

View Broglea's profile


685 posts in 3116 days

#5 posted 01-14-2011 10:44 PM

I asked my son to shovel the sidewalk after the last snow storm. He said,”Sure for $5”. I responded OK, but it will cost you $5 this week to live in this house. Come on Dad are you serious? I told him it is a privilege to live here free of charge.

If my name wasn’t on the mortgage and my Dad asked me to keep the garage door closed or to sweep the floor I would do it. The other option is to find your own place with a heated garage to call your own.

Just how I see it.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2939 days

#6 posted 01-14-2011 10:53 PM

I want to thank superstretch and chrisstef for saying things that needed to be said and for saying them so well.

Whew!... I can now put my belt back on my pants and take a deep breath! ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3366 days

#7 posted 01-14-2011 11:04 PM

i get to make choices all the time
should i buy food
or insulation
or firewood
or fix the car
all on $575 a month
by alternating my needs every month
i get to do some things i want sometimes
and others i need sometimes

there is nobody here to argue or discus this with
so i have to convince myself
if i want to spend money
so $400 worth of insulation
means i don’t get to eat anything but
hot dogs for 30 days

moderate and compromise
learn to use a broom daily
buy rolls of insulation
one roll at a time
as you can afford it

not many started out with a table saw
most had an old handsaw
and a cheap hammer

if you think life owes you something
you may be very disappointed

if you want friends
you have to be friendly

someday you may have the best shop in existence
but if you can’t talk with your family
or share that love

what’s it worth ?

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

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2852 days

#8 posted 01-14-2011 11:13 PM

Super: I don’t feel as if they owe me anything, per se. I never ask them for a dime(well… I do ask them for about 200 dimes a month.. lol.. just to cover phone bill, and maybe a 2×4…lol). Appart from where its warranted. They are the ones who elect to approach the issue, so I offer a solution… I always know the answer… but it gets them to leave me alone….for about 24hrs… I don’t really want them to spend any money on me… Its just a [“Honey, paint the kitchen”“Will Neon Pink do, its the only colour I have”] Kinda thing… Its just a good way to get them to leave me alone on the issue.

Chris: Nothing “jerkish” about that. I understand what you are saying, I really do. I know money is hard to come by, and is the reason, most months, I don’t collect allowance, just $10 for the phone.., which has kinda absorbed into a bill he just pays… Money makes the world go ‘round, and ultimately, in a depression, the world kinda slows down…
——I do occasionally ask their opinions on things. Does Pine go with more Pine…answer is always yes… lol… I do ask on profiles occasionally.

Almost forgot:

Mike, and Cessna: I do clean up often. I try to put tools away whenever it drops on my foot(dropped both a nailgun, and a chisel on my foot in one go.. Because I was trying to prevent the circular saw from going too.. lol…that was an idiot move.. I forgot to support a plywood cutoff….), gets in the way, or at the end of the night…
—-I usually clean too… Its just if I am in the middle of a project, I am the kind of person that goes and goes and goes, then cleans up the mess… takes 10minutes… its just I never quite notice the mess till I go to clean it… But I usually keep things organized and clean… I wax my tools weekly…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Damage Inc.'s profile

Damage Inc.

41 posts in 2894 days

#9 posted 01-14-2011 11:17 PM

Sorry but you only live in your parents house. My parents were very supportive of things that I did when I lived at home that were out their sight, and therefore, out of their mind. If you use the tools in the garage, keep the garage clean or your tools might end up outside one day.

I live in Wisconsin, it’s cold here in my garage too. I use a small propane heater to keep my fingers warm. I’d get much better feedback from my wife by leaving the truck running in the garage with the door down than keep the door open to the house for heat.

I just lectured a kid. Crap. Now I’m old.

Sorry, looks like you were trying to vent and the old guys are slapping you around. So was I. Just remember, out of sight out of mind.

View dbhost's profile (online now)


5726 posts in 3257 days

#10 posted 01-14-2011 11:18 PM

On the shop insulation issue. I have to ask. Who owns the building the shop is located in? That is the person, or people that have the right to complain… For example, in my home right now, is my wife, myself, and an invalid brother in law. My wife and I both own the house, and I am NOT about to complain about my woodworking, but she does have the right… However, the BIL not so much..

If it’s your house, do what you want, but be respectful of your elders. It is surprising how fast you become somebody else’s elder… It actually kind of stinks if you ask me!

Is the garage sheet rocked? If not, you are a LOT of steps ahead of a lot of us on insulation. You might just buy yourself some peace of mind, and peace in the house if you spring for the insulation yourself. See if you can get dear old Dad, and maybe even Grandpa to help you insulate the space. It will improve Dad’s home value, and keep Grandpa from feeling the cold breeze!

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2718 days

#11 posted 01-14-2011 11:20 PM

@Damage- Judging by your profile pic, you have a long ways to go yet before feeling old

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2852 days

#12 posted 01-14-2011 11:28 PM

Tell me if I am taking this out of context: Did I come off sounding like a “Spoiled Brat”, from what I can see, it looks as if you people think I am. Sorry, not good at reading other’s emotions…. Asperger’s thing… its a [insert Female Dog]…

The garage is not sheetrocked, appart from the house side…and ceiling, both of which are Type X, taped seam.

I doubt “Dear old grandpa” is doing anything… I just wrote a letter to the family court judge, handling my parents divorce, in persuit of a restraining order against him…. Assault and Battery… So he is out of the equation. On the other hand, my father is what we call, mechanically-uninclinded… if thats even a word… He doesn’t know the difference between a Spanner, and a Spacer…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3199 days

#13 posted 01-14-2011 11:33 PM

Hoooooo-eeeey !

You’re getting some great advice, and it doesn’t surprise me a bit.

I’m 46, but … in my mind … I’m NOT the “HEY, you kids … stay OFF my lawn” guy … yet.

At least, I don’t think so.

But I have to side with … well … everybody.

I sort of feel like …. the best life’s lessons I ever learned were the biggest, and most bitter pills to swallow.

You want out of this situation ? Get a job … or … another job. Use the money to meet their needs—whether that means finding a used, powerful, space heater, a used decent dust collector, a Habitat For Humanity store—or CL ad—that sells sheetrock, and putting it up yourself, or …. maybe even the worst, most LOW-paying (or NON-paying) job you can at ANY cabinet or furniture or woodworking shop, nearby.

Work for them—doing ANYTHING—in exchange for the learning, and—if you’re lucky—the access to their shop, when there’s free time.

Or a local LumberJock who is willing to make you a similar trade: your labor for their knowledge, and use of—probably with their supervision—some of their tools.

Or …. sell your 120V and 220V, and get yourself some hand tools—chisels, saws, planes, and a broom and dustpan. Shavings are easier to gather and remove than sawdust. The noise isn’t a factor, and the skills you’ll acquire WILL make you a better woodworker.

But I think you said you have two more years before you can go off on your own.

I’m sorry, Buddy, but this is going to sound harsh ….

You’ve gotta’ suck it up, and live by their rules for those two years. IF you can make DEALS, during that time, then … by all means … make deals.

But … the day you cross the line, and you lose ACCESS to THEIR garage … is the day you just lost all the ground you gained, all the time you worked toward gaining it.

You’re just not in a great bargaining position. Right now, you don’t have much that they want, and they have much that YOU NEED.

Any way to swing that balance a bit ? Can you renovate anything in the house ? Make new cabinets for the extra bathroom ? Refinish the kitchen cabinets ?? Finish the basement ?

Can YOU give THEM ANYTHING … that they WANT … that will make them more free with THEIR resources—a win-win situation ?

WHICHEVER way this works out … you WILL learn from it. You’ll either learn what it means to be dependent on others for your living—maybe you’ll like it, and maybe you won’t—or you’ll learn the fine arts of negotiation and compromise.

That last part IS NOT sarcastic: you WILL learn, though this, if you allow yourself TO learn.

If it were ME … I’d probably try to find an existing commercial shop, and BEG THEM to let me work there. That would give you what you want, what you need, and … your parents …. their house back :-)

Just … try to think that way: how can I work this situation so that we both win.

There’s usually a way.

Best of luck !!!!

-- -- Neil

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2718 days

#14 posted 01-14-2011 11:33 PM

Like I said in my first comment, I went on what I saw on the post and the blanks were assumed. I remember you making another post about your fam a while back.. sounds like a fun ride.

Also, this is a tough crowd you’re talking to here.. Lots of vets, lots of people who don’t have anything leftover after bills to support their hobby, and lots of people who scraped and clawed to get where they are. I didn’t assume you were a spoiled brat, just offering 2 cents on how to get what you need and do so in a way that keeps things cool at home. It sounds like wood working might be an escape for you, so do your best to not inadvertently jeopardize that. :)

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3199 days

#15 posted 01-14-2011 11:35 PM

”Did I come off sounding like a “Spoiled Brat””

I don’t think so.

Not at all.

What it seems you ARE, though, is dependent on others, right now—your parents—and, apparently, NOT during a great time in THEIR lives.

They may simply not be in a very giving mood, at the moment, so … I THINK you’re best bet is to either figure out what YOU can do for THEM (in exchange for what it is you want FROM them), or bypass them, entirely, and find another way to get your (admirable and reasonable) needs met.

No. Not a spoiled brat at all.

You’re a woodworker. You’re learning, and doing. That’s A Good Thing !

-- -- Neil

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