About six weeks ago, something happened that made a light flip on in my head. It wasn’t anything earth shattering or noteworthy to most. But, for me, it reignited a long lost love in me that I really hadn’t paid much attention to for 20+ years. Simply put, I sanded a few pieces of plywood.
I come from a long history of craftsmen. My father was a carpenter, my grandfather was a carpenter, all of my uncles were in skilled trades like siding, cabinetry, electricians, etc. I chose a different path. Still one that involves building, but just not quite so physical. I’m a system’s engineer by trade. What that means is I get to think of the various components of an IT system – the cables, the connections, the servers, the software they run, the clients that talk to them and all of the aspects in between – and use them like an erector set in creative ways to solve business problems.
Still a builder – just not with physical materials.
I did lots of woodworking as a hobby when I was a teenager. I was in 4-H for many years and built some pretty cool projects. Also took woodshop all 4 years in high school and made some cool stuff there as well. Being a carpenter, my Dad had a table saw, a circ saw, miter saw, drills and various other small tools. I just grabbed what i needed from his stash and made my stuff. We didn’t really have a workshop – just some saw horses outside the garage for the most part.
Then, once I went off to college, I got “educated”, then I met my wife and got “domesticated” and my skills went with it. I would try every once in a while to do some stuff around the house, but always felt it was better left to professionals.
Then, she had me make some stuff for her classroom (she’s a teacher). I got a little mouse sander in my hand, and it was alll over from there. I was bit by the woodworking bug again.
We live in a townhouse community and have a 22×19 detached garage. It’s been full of clutter. Couldn’t even park the car in it. But, now that I needed a place to do woodworking again, you better believe I got that garage organized and the car in it over a weekend.
Another thing happened to convince me I was on the right path. My 14 year old son – who I had never seen turn a screwdriver or swing a hammer (and felt terribly guilty about) – saw what I was up to and told me he wanted to do woodworking, too. That was it. Our destiny was locked in. We are making a woodshop.
Before I can get into the meat of building a workshop I still have to clear out some more space. We still need to park the car in the garage, and store some stuff in it. The garage has a 15’ high ceiling that (as far as I can estimate) has a 5/12 pitch over the 19’. So, I’m going to build a loft to put a lot of stuff up into and give us more room for the shop.
As for tools, I really have very little. I have a drill, some basic bits, some wrenches, a jig saw, and a few other tools (a circ saw) that were given to me by a neighbor once she heard what we were up to. I’m starting with a completely blank slate. Which is good and bad. Good because I get to design it from the start. Bad because i have to spend the money to get everything. My parents live 2500 miles away, so getting my Dad’s old tools is not going to happen. Plus, when I used his stuff, I never really paid attention to he different types of saw blades, or when to use what as much as I should have. I’m figuring most of this out as I go.
One last note regarding my nickname. I’m very big on honoring the people who have come before me. My grandfather, my father, myself and my son all have the same middle name (starts with “W”). My wife’s grandmother, my wife and our daughter all have the same middle initial “M”. And our last name starts with G. My wife and daughter are really crafty, too, and I’ll give them maaaaaaaybe a little corner to make a mess in if they’re really nice ;P That;s how I came up with the name of our shop – WMGworks
I’m really looking forward to gleaning knowledge from the hive mind that is LumberJocks in order to really relearn the fundamentals the right way and get things going.
-- Butchering wood since 2015