How Do YOU pay it forward?

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Forum topic by Dallas posted 02-06-2013 07:18 PM 1362 views 2 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3599 posts in 2516 days

02-06-2013 07:18 PM

I know we all have someone to be thankful to for whatever wood working skills we have.
We also have the Great One upstairs (Whatever you choose to your higher power), to thank for the hands, mind, personality and love of creating something from little scraps of wood.

For years I’ve tried to make stuff that would make people smile or just think, or say thanks that someone cares.

I’ve built what I call “Worry Boxes” that go outside a house. The idea is to take all your worries from the days stress and leave them in the box until you come out the next day.
In the last 10 or 12 years I’ve built probably 20-30 of them and a little pedestal they can sit on on a porch. I’ll sneak up when I know of a person that has a lot of worries, medical issues, monetary problems, family matters, etc. isn’t home and leave it on the porch with a note to describe what it is and what it’s for.

Other ways of paying forward is to have extra tools, maybe not in the best of shape but serviceable, that can be given to someone else that is just starting out.

Another way is just to take time to discuss someone elses problems with them and help figure out an answer… giving of your self is what it’s all about.

Now, I don’t want any thanks from those I’ve given to, most of the time I don’t even want them to know.

This thread is about what we as wood workers and as human beings can do to to make someones life a bit easier.

Any stories to relate? Any ideas of how to pay it forward even more?

Let’s hear ‘em all you good people!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

18 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17429 posts in 3035 days

#1 posted 02-06-2013 07:42 PM

I replied to a craigslist post about a year back from a mother looking to get her son into woodworking and away from the video games and the computer. They were just across town from me. I had a handful of power tools that i had upgraded from so in the back of the car they went. They surpirsed their son when he got home. Unfortunately i havent heard from the family recently but certainly hope he has taken to wood working. Maybe ill send them an email and see how things have progressed.

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

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2544 days

#2 posted 02-06-2013 08:49 PM

I donate a finished guitar, in a hardshell case, to my church every year around Christmas for a givaway at the Christmas pagent. This year I am considering two or three of my better bandsaw boxes.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10549 posts in 3458 days

#3 posted 02-06-2013 08:57 PM

Toys for Tots.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View gawthrrw's profile


207 posts in 2476 days

#4 posted 02-07-2013 01:07 AM

I do a lot of work With the Boy Scouts as far as building things. Our first project was to build a tool tote. The next week I went to Lowes and bought the packages of cheap hand tools for them to put into the tool totes. Then we started to make bird houses with the new tools they aquired. It really brings a smile to your face seeing young kids learning to work with their hands.

I have learned most of my woodworking skills on my own. Ive never been to any classes or schools. So when I find someone that is interested in building something or just starting out I try to give them what knowledge I have. I also tend to give tools away to people when I upgrade. While its not the most financially savvy thing to do, it makes me feel good knowing that they will be used and cared for.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2036 days

#5 posted 02-07-2013 01:23 AM

One easy way to feel GREAT about “Paying It Forward” is to pay for the car behind you when you’re in line at McDonalds (or Burger King, Hardees, or any fast food place).

When you’re in line, just glance in your rear-view mirror and make sure there’s not a 16 passenger van loaded with construction workers behind you :-)

When you pull up to the window just tell the kid you wanna pay for the car behind you. Then be sure to add that the deal is you want to get to the next window BEFORE he tells the next car their order was just paid for by the stranger in front of them. That way they cant come running up to your car and start asking who you are and why did you do that, and such.

I’ve done this many times and believe me, you will drive away feeling like a million bucks.

And Thanks Dallas, for living up to my sig line (insert applauding smiley face here)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View fuigb's profile


492 posts in 2987 days

#6 posted 02-07-2013 03:40 AM

As a woodworker? General repairs for elderly neighbors, like rebuilding a failed drawer, planing a stuck door, etc. They want to pay and I tell them no and if they don’t stop thanking me I threaten to nail their front door shut. Everyone laughs, I get a beer or a cup of tea, and someone’s grandparent is safe and happy in their home.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 2278 days

#7 posted 02-07-2013 03:59 AM

My wife sets the example for me. It’s the angle tree at x-mas for those less fortunate. It breaks my heart when I see that all they want are clothes for x-mas. Those of us that are fortunate to have enough to enjoy this hobby, have internet and a computer giving forward in this way is a no brainer.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2683 days

#8 posted 02-11-2013 10:53 PM

Volunteer at your local high school or vocational school woodshops. I spend about 10 hour per month working with the local high school woodshop class.

I looked in to doing apprenticeships for kids in the local and surrounding communities to give them some education and training but the state bureaucracy made it clear they would hit me hard in the pocket book to offer that to kids to the tune of paying labor & industries $11.50 per hour each hour the kids were in the shop learning some technical and life skills (work ethic, responsibility, etc). So I volunteer at the schools instead.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2981 days

#9 posted 02-11-2013 11:30 PM

DLCW, what do you do when you are at the schools, specifically? I would be interested in doing something like that for our high school. Could you provide some details?

Much appreciated!

-- Mike

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


708 posts in 3302 days

#10 posted 02-11-2013 11:56 PM

I don’t sell my older tools when I upgrade. i give them to our local Habitat-for-Humanity ReStore. They can sell them and use the funds to do the good things they do!

I put my skills to help out friends and neighbors, especially those who are unable to do it themselves. Most recently, I built new doors and drawers for the kitchen of our former office manager. She recently lost her husband to cancer. Her son-in-law is doing the finishing, then I’ll install them.

Dallas, this is a wonderful thread. Woodworkers tend to be a giving lot. I’ll be interested in following this thread. I’m sure there will be many great ideas!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2683 days

#11 posted 02-12-2013 12:48 AM

I’ve covered the following things:

1. Wrote a whole new series of safety tests ranging from general safety to machine/tool specific safety
2. Helped them setup, get running and maintain their CNC machine (it is the same model as mine)
3. Taught classes on woodworking machine tune-up, use and maintenance
4. Taught a class on how to sharpen, tune up and properly use and maintain hand planes and chisels and other hand tools
5. Held several classes in how to use the design software that is used with the CNC machine
6. Taught a class on how to properly and efficiently flatten a board and get it ready for edge gluing into a larger panel
7. Vector geometry classes so they can relate their geometry classes to real world use in the CNC design software
8. Worked one on one with individual students to move them past stuck points while working on projects
9. Helped the school develop a brand new four-year curriculum with future expansion into using the Woodworkers Alliance Passport certification program. Kids can graduation with certifications.
10. Working on developing curriculum on project estimating, project planning and project management. This will cover not only general woodworking but also construction (residential and commercial).
11. Been working on building a plan that would marry the schools marketing class curriculum to the wood/metal shop curriculum to start creating a “business” that has both a sales and marketing arm (marketing class) and manufacturing (wood/metal shop class). The goal would be for the school to be able to undertake community projects and have the marketing class build programs to market and sell products/solutions within the limitations of the manufacturing facilities. This would teach very real life situations to the kids and teach them how to deal with them.

Our goal, when all the different curriculums are in place is to have a four year certification program that the kids coming out will be ready to hit the road running. Everyone is very excited about what we have laid out as a plan on providing real world experience to high school kids in our community. Even the school board seems to be very much behind the effort.

The thought of taking the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over more then 40 years of woodworking to the grave was more then I could swallow. This was the way I figured I could transfer at least some of the knowledge to other people before I meet my maker.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2981 days

#12 posted 02-12-2013 12:50 AM

Don, that’s awesome, thanks for the reply!

-- Mike

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2516 days

#13 posted 02-12-2013 01:01 AM

These are some really great ways of sharing. I hope we can get some more people interested in sharing how they pay it forward.

We here, have all been blessed with different ways of giving and sharing, different levels of skill, but we almost all care about passing on the knowledge that in other art forms has gotten lost because of technology and a lack of interest.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2683 days

#14 posted 02-12-2013 01:04 AM


Other things I do are I donate all of my scrap to the school so their material bill has gone WAY down. They can focus on upgrading their tools instead of always have to purchase new material. I have also donated a couple of machines to them instead of selling them. My accountant would rather have the cash flow, but I would rather sleep well at night knowing I helped the kids out.

I am working on putting together a finishing class that will teach everything from surface preparation to finishing the finish and everything in between. Everyone is excited about that class. It will be fun.

I just wish I had more then an hour per period to spend with the kids, as they do too.

It has been incredibly rewarding for me personally to do this volunteer work to give back – Pay Forward.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View MJCD's profile


542 posts in 2400 days

#15 posted 02-12-2013 04:23 PM

Great Thread, Dallas.

Each day, do at least one act of kindness without looking for recognition – just so that you have that quiet smile inside that you did it, and made some else’s life easier, better, more-enjoyable.


-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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