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Old School
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Got out of the Army in 1970, and was unemployed and married. Couldn’t find a job, but had a degree in business and was in Special Forces. Tried to get a job with different police agencies (before there was SWAT), they all thought my training was too agressive. Can you believe that? Anyway didn’t want to be a mercenary cause I like living, and living in the US. So, that’s my history.
Oh yeah, back to the story. LOML and I went to a weekend arts and crafts show and a guy there was selling handmade lamps. I looked at them and thought, “I can do that”. The next day I went to the lumber yard and bought what I thought I needed.
We had a two bedroom apartment and the floor was my workspace. The lamps were made from 1” thick cork, cut in strips, glued together like frames. Then I glued on the inside colored plastic K-Lux panels, and mounted hanging hardware at the top. Took them to the flea market and hung them from a 2×4 on top of two loose bi-fold doors. The first weekend none sold. After a few weeks, I got better at the design and quality, and didn’t sell any then. As I was packing up a woman asked If I would come to her house the next night and show them to her husband, I said “I can do that”.
When I got there she had 6 – 8 neighbors over, and they went wild and about half of them ordered lamps. I took deposits and was so excited, that when I left the house, I forgot to put my samples in the trunk, and backed up over them.
Fortunately I scored that night with deposits, because LOML was ragging on me to quit making a mess in the apartment. So, the real story about cabinetwork evolved when I would be in houses installing the lamps, they would ask “Can you make a cabinet for over there?” My answer was “I can do that”.
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Journeyman Wood Butcher
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Good topic, Cabinetman....this should be interesting reading.

I took four years of Industrial Arts in High School. Drawing, drafting, independent study, several semester long wood projects....then college, working, married, kids. Now, about 15 years after school, the wife and I were shopping for a desk for the oldest son. We weren't happy with what we found.

I went to the local Woodcrafter's outlet that next weekend, and found plans in Wood magazine for a simple, plywood student's desk. My dad had given me a Craftsmen t.s. The rest, as they say, was history. I knew I had the interest, and I had a little talent. Now it was up to me to learn and develope my skill.

Then it became time for a new bedroom set for us. The quality of materials we found out there in the big (and even the little) furniture shops was amazing. To me, it's all junk. Staples, particle board, veneers and p!ss-poor joinery, finishing and quality! I can definately do better than this, I thought. And I did.

So next week, the framers will begin on my wood shop, and by Memorial Day weekend, it should be weathered in. By the end of June, I will have a huge amount of effort and about $6,000 in tools to to set in my new shop....so I guess I'm still developing and learning.

regards,
smitty
 

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great story cabinetman. Those 70's designs took a back seat for quite awhile, only to come back around. I see a lot of design influence from that era all over the place now. Personally I could never own an avocado green refrigerator, or paint the walls in my house brown and yellow...
 

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Some of you know me from other forums, but here's my story (and I'm sticking to it).:laughing:

David (LOML) has been doing some form of woodworking since his teens, and I got into it when I quickly determined that the only way to spend any quality time with my spouse was to be in the garage/shop with him. I started out small – sanding, holding, catching – then moved on to helping him with finishing. Now there are several things that I can do as well as he does---but he still likes to be in charge. We do custom furniture and cabinetry – when we can get the commissions – and we build all our own furniture and cabinetry. We've had a side business for as long as we've been married. Now we work together on designing things and in the shop building things. We also have the laser business which we acquired a couple of years ago which is starting to be our primary business. David also gives "woodworking lessons" to a couple of friends, and he repairs machinery when called upon.
 

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I picked up a carved fireplace bellows while turing in Norway. One day I tried to make one and carve on it. Since then I have made about 50 of them but switched to inlaying tooled leather images to the front of them. I had so much fun making these that I looked around to find other things to make of wood. 25 years later I am still making sawdust. Toys for toddlers lately.
 

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I think I started making little things out of the old Japanese Mandarin orange crates, back in the days when they were made out of wood, and I was a little shaver myself. I never did go professional, opting instead to do mechanical work on aircraft. However, it always remained a great interest to me, and now that I am retired and have more time, I am following my heart, and loving it.

Good to hear from you Nancy, you've been quiet lately.

Gerry
 

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I'm relatively new to woodworking, but I've been tinkering and building stuff since I was old enough to be swiping my dad's tools. We're a family of builders so it was natural for me to start taking stuff apart and building new things out of it. I got a little bit of training in Jr. Highschool turned a bowl, made the standard salt and pepper shakers etc but then went in a different direction during high school. About 4 years ago I decided to build a wooden kayak. That got me back into it again, and I've been collecting tools and woods since then. I'm trying to increase my skill set with every new project so eventually I might even be good at this stuff.
 

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Thumb Nailer
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How I got into woodworking. Well...

In my entire school time, except for College, I HATED school. I always had teachers I couldn't get along with etc... with the exception of my shop teachers. Auto, Wood, and Welding shop. It wasn't "Industrial Arts" as some have called it, where there was a semester for everything... I took Wood shop every semester from 6th grade through the end of high school, and Auto Shop every semester in high school. Then fast forward from 1987 to 1999, I had been a mechanic for a few years, and had been married for a while. My ex wife and I rented a travel trailer with one of those sleeper dinette things, well long story short, my fat butt broke the table to the dinette, and I saw the price tag on a replacement table top. I figured I could just build a new one out of Melamine. And I did... The retnal company NEVER noticed a thing about it. I know the guy that bought the trailer when they decomissioned it, and every other piece of particle board in that cheap heap fell apart, but my table held up fine...

I found during my divorce with my ex that woodworking was a GREAT stress reliever, not to mention a good outlet for the creative part of me. I graduated college with a degree in Communications (see graphic design / art) and ended up working as a UNIX system administrator for a major organization. I don't get many opportunities to create things at work, other than manipulate data.

I don't make my living working with wood, but I sure am making my home nicer by doing so. And I am helping other friends out to boot!
 

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When I started 7th grade in Socorro New Mexico my first day in wood shop they asked me if I ever ran a band saw, I said sure and didn't even know how to turn it on, but faked my way thru it and ended up making a great looking end table, I was carrying it thru the hallway at school and some jerk hit the top of it with his fist and the top cracked in half, after getting kicked out of school for fighting:laughing: I took wood shop in every grade I could, I was hooked! :thumbsup: Been building any thing you can imagine since from bird houses to People houses just bought a bandsaw mill a few months ago and am now making my own lumber, what a treat! I may just build my own coffin some day!:laughing:
Arky
 

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Got out of the Army in 1970, and was unemployed and married. Couldn’t find a job, but had a degree in business and was in Special Forces. Tried to get a job with different police agencies (before there was SWAT), they all thought my training was too agressive. Can you believe that?


no matter what you accomplish after '70, not much will have the Honor than being awarded the Beret... I remember growing up listening to Sgt.Barry singing the song....my recruiter was SF..2 tours in Nam... a great guy... woodworking may pay the bills, but pales in comparison in my eyes, cuz I did manuvers with those guys(and some Aussies).... Rambo didn't have squat on those boys....:icon_cool:
 

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Old School
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no matter what you accomplish after '70, not much will have the Honor than being awarded the Beret... I remember growing up listening to Sgt.Barry singing the song....my recruiter was SF..2 tours in Nam... a great guy... woodworking may pay the bills, but pales in comparison in my eyes, cuz I did manuvers with those guys(and some Aussies).... Rambo didn't have squat on those boys....:icon_cool:

Definitely a highlight in my life in some very bad times. Rambo...that was a movie.:smile:





 

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Definitely a highlight in my life in some very bad times. Rambo...that was a movie.:smile:







true dat.... I have a close friend who got shot up during the Panama invasion... he was SF,too...:yes:
 

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interesting topic.
mine started out as a mistake that made me very angry. all i wanted to do is take mechanics in grade 10. they threw me in building construction... twice, both simesters. i was so mad at those footballers. but i had an old man for a teacher that didn't take any crap. i tried so hard but what could i say...i sucked. i couldn't do anything. i had a mom and that was it. i could cook, do laundry, sew, knitt, but this teacher told me that if i wouldn't try then he'd send me upstairs to basket weaving, or sandwich making. but he was right. that was all i could do.
i found out that he smoked and would let kids out back to smoke, but we had to clean. so i did. and as i cleaned, i watched him day after day, every lunch, slicing up plywood on the table saw. what's the deal with this i thought. it was amazing to watch this man glide 40 heets every lunch as us kids cleaned. then he needed a hand so he yelled at me. GET OVER HERE DAN. i thought he hated me. the rest is history. i achived 45 credits in 2.5 yrs. but i still thought i was ment to be a mechanic so after highschool i went racing.... i thought this is what i was ment to do. while i don't regret my need discover, i mean, i thought i got fed the short straw. about 4 yrs ago i decided to go back to the wood shop. now i run my own what ever i feel like doing that weekend shop. because of my mechanics, i can do pretty much anything, given my diverse tool selection, i always have something to fix anything. and if i don't have it.... i make it. the tyco hovercraft yeilded my very first exaust fan. and piece of cardboard.
my teachers favorite wood was always purple heart. i made a box out of it, over read oak base and tulip wood for accents. it's not finished yet.
the two skills that i have learned to master (not really, but i'm pretty good with it) is the table saw and old process veneer, with new aged water based glue. in my sons eyes, i have a magic drawer. so my veneer drawer is now magic. you would think after all these yrs i'd be able to sharpen a chisel! the chisel is my nemesis
 

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I stopped in to say hi to my old grade school principal who lives down the road from me and went inside his woodshop one day to get his help with making some base boards for my living room and was just drawn to the tools he had in there. He showed me a few of his pieces he had finished and I figured I could do it to. Started collecting tools from Lowes and I've been studying wood books and online and learning ever since (4 years). I am trying to get my paws on some bigger and better quality tools to make faster and better stuff. I to am a mechanic ( diesel ) and that's a big plus for me I think cause I pick up on how things work very fast and foresee alot of mistakes before I make them, still make alot to though but I always learn from them after the cursing is done....lol
 

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skymonkey, i have a saying... i started with an idea and 25 mistakes later, this is what i came up with. any one who doesn't make mistakes, doesn't challenge himself enough. i play enough chess to know that you loose more than you win, but if i win all the time, i never feel the need to get better.
 

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Well very new to woodworking, but it all started when I was a kid and my father died when I was 1 year old, but luckily I had my grandpa. He was WWII Vet and all around kick butt dude! He took me under his wing and I would hang out in his shop and he would just let me go at it!! I mean I was the only 6 year old using a bandsaw!! LOL But he taught how to make my own toys!!! I use to make swords all the time for fighting off the bad guys! hehehe Well, fast forward some years and I was visiting a friend for supper one night and we decided to the "man" thing and hang out in his shop. Well it kinda all came back to me --- the memories of those days, making stuff!! From there I was hooked!! I began reading great sites like this one here and of course picking his brain for advice & guidance! The future is to be determined but I hope it is me given the advice like all of you guys here have done for me. Returning the favor to the future newbie like me that desires to learn!! Hopefully one day ...
 

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Started for stress relief from an 80 hour a week retail job. Time has always been my most coveted commodity. That is why I only make what I want to make. Not that I have never accepted money for a cabinet or two but if the job didn't appeal to me, didn't do the job. Still stress relief, still only do what I want. Just better at it now.
 

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The Man
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Anyway didn’t want to be a mercenary cause I like living, and living in the US.
:huh:Where the heck would you go to even apply for that job?



j/k :smile:



Some great stories.


I got into it because my great-great-uncle Paul used to be an extremely skilled woodworker. He's legally blind now from macular degeneration so he can no longer practice his craft. I really felt bad for him so on his 91st birthday I made him a small tambor clock (you can see a similar one in my pics), which he promptly displayed on his mantle in his house. Then he took me downstairs to his workshop and pointed to his scroll saw.

"You see that thing there? You can have it if you want it. I don't have any use for it anymore."

So I took it home and made a few small projects, then realize how much fun it was so I bought more tools and continue to build bigger and bigger.

BTW, I went to Uncle Paul's for thanksgiving, and not long after I stepped in the door he said, "Could you by chance use a router? I got one but I don't have any use for it anymore."

Funny, I was just looking to buy one!

So thanks to Uncle Paul, I found my passion!
 
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