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Forum topic by KevinH posted 01-24-2012 04:32 PM 1092 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KevinH's profile


98 posts in 3230 days

01-24-2012 04:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m a self-taught novice when it comes to woodworking, but I’m getting the idea that if I’m patient with the wood, the wood is patient with me (usually, or maybe I’m not as patient at times as I think I am).

I’ve recently had some leave time from work after my wife passed away in September. I found that puttering around in my garage workshop was a tremendous source of catharsis and serenity. When I can spend an hour or two in the workshop working with my hands, working out challenges with wood and tools, my mind is often much clearer for the rest of the day. My 22 year old son says when he comes to the house after work, he can tell if I’ve been working wood by the smile on my face.

I just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience?

I’ve been back to my usual work schedule for a while now, sitting at a computer most of the day. My workshop is unheated, so the time I can spend there is currently limited by lack of opportunity and comfort. I miss it and look forward to the time I can get back out there on a regular basis.

-- Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. --Kevin in Happy Valley

22 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3641 days

#1 posted 01-24-2012 04:41 PM

First, Kevin, my condolences on the loss of your wife.

I think your experience with woodworking is pretty common. It’s why most of us enjoy it so much. Our minds tend to get cluttered with random thoughts of the many events, problems, and responsibilities of our busy lives. Focusing on the wood has a cleansing effect, flushing out all that stuff and allowing us to return from the shop refreshed and renewed.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2903 days

#2 posted 01-24-2012 04:43 PM

First of all, my condolences regarding your wife. Those are very tough times for sure.

I agree with you that woodworking, or any hobby for that matter, is a great stress reliever. I had somewhat the same situation about a year ago.

First I got up one morning and found that one of my cats had passed away during the night. Two weeks later, my father passed away after a stroke. Although he was in his early 90s, it was still hard to take since we were very close and it brought up a lot of memories of camping, hunting and fishing that we used to do together. I came home from the hospital where he passed away about 11 PM and noticed an email on my PC from my manager at work telling me I was being let go at work, where I had worked for 41 years. I was lucky that I was able to just retire and take the buyout and pension, but it was still a shock.

Woodworking took my mind off of the whole situation and restored my life to some form of normalcy.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View dannelson's profile


181 posts in 1794 days

#3 posted 01-24-2012 04:44 PM

buy a woodburner and get piece of mind. I spend hours upon hours in my shop. wood heat takes off the chill and puts me in my happy place , I know what you ment about serenity,sometimes quiet is really nice. first picture is looking out the shop doors to the south taken early this fall. second picture is my morning commute 60 ft away

-- nelson woodcrafters

View paratrooper34's profile


867 posts in 2375 days

#4 posted 01-24-2012 05:34 PM

Kevin, my condolences as well. I am sure this is a very difficult time for you.

Having said that, I will tell you that I find alot of peace and serenity working in my shop as well. 3 1/2 years ago, I was promoted to an extremely difficult job. It was incredibly stressfull and it was very hard for me to not take my job home with me. In fact, the cell phone forced me to take it home. There were many days where, once I got home, I told my wife I needed to work in my woodshop to help calm me down. After an hour or two of puttering on a project, I was cooled off enough to relax and spend the rest of the evening with her. Luckily, she was completely understanding of my need for an outlet. I think if I did not have that, the stress would have gotten to me.

Continue to do what you are doing, it is very therapeutic. Good Luck!

-- Mike

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4408 posts in 3383 days

#5 posted 01-24-2012 06:10 PM

An EMail tellin’ you that you were toast??? Man, that’s just a cheap shot.
Karma lives in my shop. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad, but mostly good.
Honestly, the lathe is the most absorbing tool. I can get completely wrapped up (oh crap, that ain’t right), involved in the spinney stuff. I can also wreck a bunch of wood on it.


View helluvawreck's profile


22697 posts in 2289 days

#6 posted 01-24-2012 06:23 PM

I’m sorry about the loss of your wife, Kevin.

I think that what you are talking about is pretty common. I’m 61 and work 10 hours a day so when I get home on the week days I usually just don’t want to do any work in the shop but work in there every Saturday and Sunday. My shop is sort of like my den when I’m not working in it. Sitting in my shop helps me unwind when I get home from work and working in there on a project is always a relaxing experience.


-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View SnowyRiver's profile


51452 posts in 2903 days

#7 posted 01-24-2012 07:02 PM

Yes Bill….thats how they did it. I knew that they were going to downsize the group since they were sending much of the work overseas. I chose not to look for other work within the company. I feel they just wanted to get rid of someone that was costing them a lot of wage money first. In the end though it was good…I am so happy to be retired from that high stress job. Who knows, some day I may end up working part time at Home Depot, Rockler, or Cabelas….LOL.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2597 days

#8 posted 01-24-2012 07:06 PM

Kevin: I simply can’t imagine ….. I’m so sorry.

-- -- Neil

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2497 days

#9 posted 01-24-2012 07:07 PM

My condolences also.

There are days (hopefully only a few) when nothing goes right in the shop. Those are frustrating days and, for me, it is best to just leave the shop and come back tomorrow. Those are the exceptions.

On most days, my shop time is a very pleasant experience and I feel good about the day. I think a key issue for me is to not rush. When I rush I make mistakes and I am also more likely to get hurt. I need to work at a slow and deliberate pace and pause often to think about what I am doing.

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

5957 posts in 1751 days

#10 posted 01-24-2012 09:25 PM

Condolences on your loss Kevin….

Way back in the day, some 25 years ago, I was big time into marial arts and had a uniquie instructor who was also an avid tennis player, who promoted a book called “Inner Tennis”....

I wasn’t really into the religious aspects of Zen… but the concept of “RELAXED CONCENTRATION” really made a big impact on me and helped me to become a better “student of life”. Be it athletics, acedemics, technical problem solving, or trade crafts such as wood or metal working.

Giving ones complete attention to a task over an extended period of time…. Bringing multiple senses to bear while observing the “feedback” from your actions and efforts… especially when working with a “living” material such as wood…. it’s all quite relaxing and even theraputic. Quite the contrast to the daily hustle and bustle I experience working in industry.

My dad once told me that the best way to ruin your favorite hobby was to turn it into your livelyhood, and I can see how the stress of turning a buck could turn woodworking into a toil.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View TominTexas's profile


42 posts in 2259 days

#11 posted 01-24-2012 10:04 PM

I’m truly sorry for your loss Kevin. It sounds like you have found the way to deal with the pain that works best for you. Shop time has given many of us a respite from turmoil and sorrow in our lives.


-- East Side of Big D

View Zulu55's profile


72 posts in 1739 days

#12 posted 01-24-2012 10:59 PM

I am sorry to hear about your wife Kevin. I am really glad that you have something you enjoy doing to keep your mind busy. I think that is a big attraction to this hobby/way of life or whatever we call it.

-- Adam - Langley, British Columbia (Canada)

View Bobsboxes's profile


1093 posts in 2087 days

#13 posted 01-25-2012 01:21 AM

I am sorry for your loss Kevin. Buy a wood stove, get some heat, I have a natural gas hanging shop heater and it costs me an extra 100.00 month to run. If you can find a piece of mind in the shop then figure out a way to get some heat if it helps you deal with everything. Some days sorting out screws and sweeping the floor, helps to find peace for me.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3096 days

#14 posted 01-25-2012 01:31 AM

Truthly sorry for your loss.

View Dave's profile


11394 posts in 2263 days

#15 posted 01-25-2012 02:31 AM

My condolences to you and yours for your loss.
Woodworking is what I love to do in my spare time. It helps me calm down. Work is hard and raising three teenage girls will drive you nuts. Plus if I need to build one of there boyfriend’s caskets I am geared up for it. JK;)

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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