How Did You Learn Woodworking?

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Forum topic by Cricket posted 02-20-2014 02:22 AM 2103 views 1 time favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2429 posts in 1791 days

02-20-2014 02:22 AM

I am curious how y’all learned woodworking. Is it something you have always done since a woodworking class back in school? Did you have a mentor that helped you learn? Did you take classes? Do you continue to learn online? I would love to hear your story. :-)

-- Community Manager

34 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#1 posted 02-20-2014 02:35 AM

Hi Cricket
I first developed an interest in woodworking by watching Norm Abram and Roy Underhill on TV some 30 years ago, after that I subscribed to almost every woodworking magazine available and after that I purchased books on woodworking (I have about 600 books on woodworking now.)after that I came across Charles Neil on You Tube and watched all 40+ videos he had ,I noticed a link on Charles Neils web site to a little over five years ago. I have learned much here on LJs and a lot on Charles Neils Videos and on line schools. I learn and offer advise every day on Ljs.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View mahdee's profile


4021 posts in 1966 days

#2 posted 02-20-2014 02:37 AM

I began my journey in woodworking when I was 12. A friend of mine named Rafraf from Russia came to me and said ” there is a Muslim get together and if we attend, they provide free chocolate milk” I said, lets go. As we were ushered into a room for people our age, I sat down and listened to the mullah whom for 3 hours spoke of Jesus Christ and his miraculous birth by the verging Mary and so on. I rushed home and found a piece of wood and carved it into a cross using a kitchen knife and made a necklace out of it. It all went from there.


View BJODay's profile


527 posts in 2142 days

#3 posted 02-20-2014 02:40 AM

My Dad was very handy. He built several houses and helped me build my first home. He was a good rough carpenter. Actually a “Jack of All Trades”.

One of my brothers worked part-time for a cabinet shop. He showed me how to make face frame cabinets and I have been doing that ever since, (for personal use).

He also had an old wood lathe that I used to turn some 4×4 oak into coffee table legs. I did it but I cannot understand how I did it without breaking my arm. The speed was limited, the tools were dull and I had no instruction. Just winged it.

I’m trying to expand my skill set. I have found great information and inspiration at LJs.


View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2491 days

#4 posted 02-20-2014 02:50 AM

Grew up on a farm (but lived in town), so woodworking and mechanics were a part of my life as far back as I can remember. Although WW is an advocation for me, my learning has progressed by means of books and now the Internet. This site has been one of the most informative and motivational sources I’ve found. Thanks to all LJs!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3340 posts in 3308 days

#5 posted 02-20-2014 02:55 AM

I was given a set of tools on my sixth birthday (1958) for doing woodworking. I’ve butchered a board or two since then, and have made many a pretty piece, too. My dad taught me a lot, like build one in pine before you use a more costly wood, long before (like, 20 years) I heard Norm utter those words. I’ve also been attentive to learning many things besides woodworking; and always striven to be a Renaissance man. I can fix any part of a car or truck, design tools, and can work wood and metal (copper, in particular). I have a degree in physics, and have designed and built equipment for space communications satellites.

BTW, a belated welcome, Cricket! Don’t let the old guard here give you any grief! I realize that some woodworkers are a conservative lot and resistant to change.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2889 days

#6 posted 02-20-2014 03:01 AM

Took up this sport at age 59 with NO prior experience at all. Bought a Ryobi tablesaw and mitersaw and started reading everything woodworking that I could find. Then I discovered Lumberjocks!

Now I have a BUNCH of toys and I blame it all on this site!

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

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1302 posts in 1833 days

#7 posted 02-20-2014 03:08 AM

I was about 3-4 when I got bit by the bug. My dad was handy around the house and built lots of things.
I had a pretty good teacher. Although like all kids I did it my way.

I built out of need. Things to solve problems , darkroom , boxes for large format cameras, gestner type toolbox
When I got my house, I got back to building regularly, as I now had a rudimentary shop.
I love videos from either other people (you tube) or the old yankee or david Marks shows. You are never too old or too good to learn. The best videos are Roy Underhill. Learn hand tools first, and you’d be surprised how fast you can build. Roy taught me to use a knife and chisel before using a handsaw. All my problems hand sawing went away. Also how to quickly size things by using a chisel and splitting, or a hatchet.

-- Jeff NJ

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2175 posts in 3969 days

#8 posted 02-20-2014 03:13 AM

When I first got married we bought an old house, need I say more ?

-- Tom D

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294 posts in 1859 days

#9 posted 02-20-2014 03:24 AM

Ive been hooked ever since my dad caught me doing bad things in the wood pile : )

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5682 posts in 2608 days

#10 posted 02-20-2014 03:27 AM

All male members of our family are tradesman of some sort, i.e. Aircraft mechanics, Auto Mechanics, Train mechanics etc etc. All by some odd quirk are hobbyist woodworkers. I grew up holding this or that, painting, or getting this tool or that tool. Years later I am teaching my son some of the very same things.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Cricket's profile


2429 posts in 1791 days

#11 posted 02-20-2014 03:55 AM

I am loving hearing your stories. I wish we had a like button here! :-)

-- Community Manager

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3284 days

#12 posted 02-20-2014 03:58 AM

When I was in the seventh grade, Dad decided he was going to build a bigger house, the family had outgrown
the first small one he had built. Since it was summer and he had a full time job, I was elected chief helper
and galley slave, from digging the basement with a No 2 idiot stick to framing the house I was taught by
doing it. Since Dad was a mechanic I was expected to know how to take care of my tools and cars and
forgot to outgrow it. I now have my own woodworking shop which keeps me out of most trouble and
off streetcorners. Roy Underhill, Norm Abram and quite a few others including Lumberjocks have kept
me going and learning just a little more.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View lightcs1776's profile


4234 posts in 1853 days

#13 posted 02-20-2014 04:16 AM

Trial and error and a lot of help from folks here. I’m still pretty new at it. My wife is also learning, much the same way. There is a local woodworking club we are in the process of joining, and I think that will be very helpful.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View TravisH's profile


627 posts in 2134 days

#14 posted 02-20-2014 04:39 AM

Growing up most of my wood working was small projects. I needed a box to store baseball cards, ramps for bikes, etc.. As I moved more into my teens I started building larger half pipes for skateboarding, made a snowboard, and a few other items. At the time you could not have paid me to be in wood shop class as it was unfortunately considered a place to hide the troubled and those with dim futures. During college I built utilitarian pieces for my dorm (shelving units and small tables) and did some carving/whittling. These were functional pieces that had to mobile and double as storage bins during moves. Once I got married and we bought a house I bought tools that I considered needed by a homeowner.

I watched a lot of shows growing up and early in woodworking but most just didn’t impress me as I felt I could do the same with the arsenal of tools they had. I found Underhill interesting and admired that he had ability to actually do things. It wasn’t until I saw David Marks on TV that I was really interested. The craftsman/artistry really drew my attention to woodworking. It was a refreshing eye opener to what woodworking could be as it didn’t alienate me the way a thirty minute sales pitch from a plaid shirt focused on reproductions.

I now find woodworking more of a way to get away. The artistry and craftsmanship is what really draws me in and something I want to develop. I don’t mind following a cut list and plans but honestly don’t find it rewarding as I honestly feel anyone should be able to do it with the right tools.

View doubleDD's profile (online now)


7883 posts in 2242 days

#15 posted 02-20-2014 05:18 AM

I can remember back when I was young, my dad saying you can’t get these any more , I’ll have to make one. It was a wooden storm window. I helped sweeping sawdust and moving boards around while he did the build. At that time I knew this was something I would like to do, building things. My dad taught me things as well as my uncle. Just kept learning and picking up ideas as I got older. Became a carpenter, the rest is history. In short, I learn from everybody and everything.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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