how did you learn to woodwork?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Coffee Lounge forum

Forum topic by whitebeast88 posted 10-25-2012 10:22 PM 1438 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2188 days

10-25-2012 10:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

i was just wondering how many people are self taught or how you learned from your father,shop class or what.for me i took vo-ag in school and built a birdhouse twenty -three years ago and enjoyed it but never did it.finally started doing somethings awhile back and getting more involved.i tend to struggle with how to do things correctly.i’ve learned alot off of this site and the internet with a grain of salt of course on the internet.just thought it would be interesting to see how everyone learns.thanks marty.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

22 replies so far

View Ed Kallbrier's profile

Ed Kallbrier

81 posts in 2346 days

#1 posted 10-25-2012 10:40 PM

took shop class in high school and failed that class my dad try to teach me how to read a tape he said you don’t know how to read a tape I do not know how to read a tape then i got 1 of those easy read tapes that’s what I use my dad showed me some basic woodworking that’s about it.

-- Ed Carlinville IL

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2688 days

#2 posted 10-26-2012 03:13 AM

No shop class ever. No previous woodworking experience. I learned everything I know about woodworking on this site and am eternally grateful to the people who took the time to answer all my dumb questions. There are guys here who forgot more about woodworking before breakfast today than I will ever know!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#3 posted 10-26-2012 03:37 AM

The first 20 years Norm,lots of books,Roy Underhill, magazines. and now DVDs, You tube, Lumber jocks, the net and Charles Neil’s Mastering Woodworking on line subscription program.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MontanaBob's profile


830 posts in 2681 days

#4 posted 10-26-2012 03:54 AM

I’ve build stuff around the house for years on a learn as you go method. Never had the tools to do the kind of woodworking that I wanted to do…Now have the tools and with the wide open world of the internet, I can learn to build anything…Now if I was just 40 years younger, so I would have the time to attempt it all…but I’ll do all I can and enjoy every second of it…Thanks to all you LJ’ers, for sharing your projects and ideas..

View Woodknack's profile


11626 posts in 2378 days

#5 posted 10-26-2012 04:04 AM

I took every woodworking class I was allowed in highschool, 4 or 5 total I think, then would come in during study halls and build stuff. After that was books, magazines, tv & practice. I do feel the classes gave me a leg up though, taught me the correct way to use machines and prepare stock.

-- Rick M,

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2336 days

#6 posted 10-26-2012 04:10 AM

I am with Andy. No previous experience of any kind, learned a lot from here. Wonderful people here. Lots of pain and bloodshed on my path.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View oldnovice's profile


6849 posts in 3365 days

#7 posted 10-26-2012 04:41 AM

I started WW one or two years before I had my first high school shop class. I wanted to graduate early so I went to summer school to get rid of required classes. Unfortunately the wood shop class was not offered so I settled for electronics which ended up being my profession for 40 years.

During those 40 years of working I read about and did woodworking. Most everything is self taught and
  • Book ….......... too many to list, many very old
  • magazines … Wood, Wood Smith, American Woodworker, Shop Notes, and others
  • TV shows ….. New Yankee Workshop, The Woodwrights Shop, David J. Marks Woodworks, and others.
  • Osmosis ….... this web site and the talent here!

I often wonder if the high school woodworking shop class would have been available if my career would have been different? Never can tell, no do-overs in life!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3891 days

#8 posted 10-26-2012 04:50 AM

I was taught by those born before me and am very thankful for the pitfalls that face me, knowing the lessons of choices yet to made, have previously been paid for, by those long since dead.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2284 days

#9 posted 10-26-2012 06:53 AM

Back in the 70’s I was a teenager with no money who liked loud music. So I built speakers for myself from wood my dad had laying around and old TV speakers. I learned a lot about what not to do.
When I was in my late 20’s I started working with small pieces of wood I sliced on my TS. bird houses, doll houses. and just fun stuff. I think I was more or less hiding from wife #1.
When I remarried and turned 50 I decided to build a deck in the back yard, then I made some other things outside and then remodeled my kitchen.
It hasn’t stopped since, i’ve put in two bedrooms and a full bath downstairs now and have built a very complete work shop capable of just about anything except turning in my garage. I’m finding that you can do just about anything if you don’t freak out about your ability. You have as much as anyone does, you just need to find a way to let it out.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2920 days

#10 posted 10-26-2012 11:01 AM

My whole background was in High Pressure piping systems. I retired from the pipefitting industry after 32 years.
My only woodworking experience was an 8th grade class in which the teacher started out by saying” this is a jointer but we won’t use it,too hard to clean up” then “this is a table saw but we won’t use it too hard to clean up” this is a drill press etc etc. We used a hand plane and built a “wannabe gunrack”.
Everything I know came from magazines,the internet, places like LJ,s and the local library.
Some people say when they retire they get bored, I’m never bored with woodworking,always something new.
I build items for family and always have a backlog. My only requirement is I do it in my time frame not theirs.

-- Life is good.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2073 days

#11 posted 10-26-2012 04:04 PM

I grew up in a household where tools = swearing.
My father was not handy and I learned that the more syllables involved in the swearing the further I should run!

In the 80s, I was among the first class of girls allowed to take shop class. I turned a lamp and built a small shelf and loved it. When my husband and I moved into our current house, I started doing small repairs like hanging shelves, replacing knobs. I discovered that if I took the time to learn how to do something properly and safely, with the right tools, it wasn’t that bad. I slowly started to accumulate screwdrivers, pliers, etc.

I really only started with woodworking in the past 3 years. I wanted a trellis for the front of the house and was not happy with any that were in the stores and thought the price for a trellis kit online was crazy! So I decided to buy a kit for a small trellis and use it as a template to make my own. I had fun doing it and learned a lot.

So bit by bit, I’m learning and enjoying the journey.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2188 days

#12 posted 10-26-2012 10:05 PM

thanks everyone for your stories.i was just wondering how others learned.this site has taught me alot,i enjoy reading how people do there projects and how to has helped me tremendously.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3123 days

#13 posted 10-30-2012 04:37 AM

It’s in my blood. Dad was a carpenter, gunsmith, and tool designer…. Grandpa was a home builder, I grew up around tools and wood, and I grew up poor and we made most of our stuff. I also when to school for art, design, and sculpture. But woodworking.. Fine woodwork I am totally self taught. Started in a basement after college with only a few cheap and second hand shop tools. I struggled a lot by reading books and challenging myself, but honestly my history made it easier than for most. Hardest part of my career was all the floundering and confusion, sacrifice, and diligence. I look back 15 years and I think wow I knew so little and yet today I am still learning new stuff. Now, I habitually stand the same way when i sharpen my chisel or cut with my dozuki blade.. So for all my years of feeling inept … I absolutely enjoy that I can do what I want now… I have the tools, the experience, and the life.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18269 posts in 3673 days

#14 posted 10-30-2012 05:18 AM

Other than a little basic carpentry on the farm growing up, I am self taught with a bit of advice from Roy, Norm and, of course, LJs.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Pdub's profile


924 posts in 3177 days

#15 posted 10-30-2012 02:50 PM

Self taught. Books, magazines, google and LJ’s. LJ’s has been the biggest influence to try new things. All the tutorials are great!

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics