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Blog entry by Roger Clark aka Rex posted 12-31-2008 11:45 PM 1075 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello and thank you for the great welcomes. Please be aware that woodworking is something new to me and I cringe when I see projects you members have completed, I feel like a fraud to be a member of such a talented group.
I have only just been retired due to health reasons but my body is 66 years old while my head is still hovering in the mid thirties. I was not prepared for retirement and had no plans for it, hence I was stuck, then my wife/nurse/critic came up with woodworking as a hobby/occupation. I told her she was crazy (as she is) because my only interest in woodworking or products was limited to wooden matches I used a while back to light a cigarette and also using wooden washing pegs when I was a kid helping my mother hang out the washing. So you see I was a prime candidate to become another Chippendale!
My background is in mechanical engineering (good old stable metal) and computers including a spell at CAD a while back. Wood to me is one of the most unstable materials found, just below play dough and there are no tolerances used like .001”, it’s just to the nearest splinter! I also found you can cut wood one day and it becomes a different shape the next day, it’s just like when the honeymoon is over!
My wife sweetened the deal by agreeing a budget for “stuff” I would need, so I spent the lot and got all kinds of things most of which I don’t know how to use but learning. The final kicker was that my “shop” is located 300 feet from the house and I have developed selective hearing and often can’t hear her yelling to me from the house – peace! My pal is my dog – Winston, who spends the time with me and is learning to use a router and has learned to cuss.
Believe it or not I have actually made few things! On retirement I looked around outside for things that needed doing and I looked at my sad patio furniture (which I replaced every few years) and was going to set about trying to repair it again to get through another year in this harsh Texas weather which really does a number on wood furniture. Then I had a brainwave (yes it still works) and thought why don’t I make replacements that WILL stand up to the weather and maybe I won’t ever have to buy a wooden furniture set made out of timber that was just fine for use in Woga Woga, but not inTexas.
I got out my old trusty drafting table and came up with a design that was basic but very stable and well protected, so I embarked on my project. I had several “learning experiences”, now up to Mk V version and was stunned when my wife made a rare visit to my shop and stated that she never realized I could make something that good – Nice!
I have had the audacity to include some pictures of my efforts for you to look at for a laugh, please be kind and remember these were all done using a hand axe.
Also remember I am originally a Brit and have a very strange sense of humour (yeah correct spelling) and people think I am generally strange especially somebody who looked at my work and asked what joint I used, so I told him I had not had a joint since the 60’s!!!!
A happy New Year to y’all

Pictures @

-- 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.

7 comments so far

View lew's profile (online now)


12101 posts in 3779 days

#1 posted 12-31-2008 11:57 PM

I’ll tell you what, you’re pretty darned good with that hand axe!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3458 days

#2 posted 01-01-2009 12:01 AM

Thanks Lew ….... you should see what I can do with a nail file and sewing thread!

-- 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 kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3465 days

#3 posted 01-01-2009 09:11 AM

Im pretty new here myself but I have been in the furniture industry for about 15 years and would strongly advise you keep that sense of humour, you will need it when that splinter goes under your fingernail. Dont let your understanding spouse find out the true cost of that hand axe, especialy the one with the power cord and Bosch stamped on it and forget trying to teach Americans to spell. King George tried that and they poured all his tea into a harbour. Wogga Wogga is a real place in Australia and very similar to Texas as they both like rideing livestock, drinking beer and picking fights with anyone south of the border.
(Please note all these comments are intended to be hunourous and were written under the influence of a mighty New Year hangover)

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3458 days

#4 posted 01-01-2009 11:12 AM

Hey Kiwi1969. I always see the funny side of everything to the extent people get nervous at what I might say, especially when I was working and my comments were the highlight of department meetings. They allowed for me assuming I was not all there! As for my tool allowance, man to man you know I went over my specified limit using my secret slush fund, but that’s between you and I. Americans are fascinating people, very kind, generous and good friends – BUT most do not have very good knowledge or understanding about other countries or places in the world They also have their own version of history, even in Texas where the Alamo is a subjet of Texan defience, the truth is no Texans were at the Alamo, the were mainly English, Welsh, Scots, Irish and other European adventurers – you can even read the defenders list at the Alamo which tells all. I may say things jokingly about my wife, but honestly she is a treasure and nursed me and did everything for me after my surgery, but she can be a bit “pushy” at times.
Back in the late 50’s our next door neighbours (including my then best friend) emigrated to NZ – Bay of Plenty, Rotarua. They wrote regulary and sent wonderful pictures of the gorgeous countyside until my mother passed away.
One of my greatest “wind ups” is when someone asks me what I am doing for 4th July? I look puzzled as though I don’t know what it is, so they tell me it is independence day and suppose they don’t celebrate it in England. On the contrary I say, it’s celebrated there asThanksgiving! Anyway I hope I can learn to do some real woodworking with the help of these folks here, I am learning by my mistooks. Take care.

-- 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 Gary's profile


42 posts in 3502 days

#5 posted 01-01-2009 12:12 PM

Welcome and it sounds like we are quite a bit alike. My wife also suggested woodworking to me and I agree with you that there is no such thing a a thou. of an inch here. I work as a cnc and edm machinist making medical equipment with tolarences as small as .0005 so when i get home to the shop at first it drove me crazy but now I find it quite relaxing not to have to hold such a tight tolarance. I jumped right in with both feet around thanksgiving and am still working on my first project, a roll top breadbox for my wife for christmas (over my head and still a way to go to get it finished) lucky she is very understanding and waiting patiently for me to finish. Just work carefully and above all be safe and I am sure you will enjoy the hobby. Gary

-- Gary, Missouri

View toyguy's profile


1654 posts in 3861 days

#6 posted 01-01-2009 02:47 PM

Roger welcome to LumberJocks. Your first blog was very well done, just what we need here. I love your sense of humor. Working with wood is a lot different, but from the looks of your pictures I do believe you have gotten the hang of it. Once you run out of things around the house to build, might I suggest a model or two. In my retirement I have found this to be very rewarding and it doesn’t take a great level of skill. Check out Toys and Joys plans for some great projects. My newest venture will be in wood turning…. another option for someone like you. They say once you start wood turning you never go back to flat work… Once again welcome, I’ll look forward to reading some more of your posts.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View EEngineer's profile


1103 posts in 3637 days

#7 posted 01-01-2009 03:09 PM

As an engineer(check the handle) there is no such choice as “No -I can’t do it!”. Instead, there is only “Given what I got to work with, here’s what I can do.” This is the ultimate of woodworking – yeah, wood is a finicky thing, it swells and shrinks but nothing else has that kind of beauty. So you work with it and you design for it. The Universe doesn’t adapt to us, we have to adapt to it…

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

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