Sunday, February 5, 2012

Get Woodworking Week Is Here. Get To It!!

Tom Iovino, a prolific blogger for Tom's Workbench came up with
The idea is for those of us that are doing woodworking to encourage newcomers to dig in and and give it a shot. 

Woodworking for me is about designing.  It's a creative outlet.  I started helping out a friend who was a general contractor years ago.  All that time with power tools made me comfortable with them.  Taking my time with cutting, and lots of it, greatly improved my hand to eye coordination.  

Almost 15 years ago, my wife Sylvia and I bought a very modest 1910 Craftsman Four Square house.  The house had all the original trim and it was in great condition, except for nearly a century of paint on the woodwork.  It was all very basic and unadorned.  

I had the idea of woodworking in my head prior to this, but bringing that house back to it's original beauty was what really fueled the fire and placed the desire squarely in my heart.  I bought a contractor tablesaw, a planer and a drum sander during that time, as well as assorted other small power tools.  

Although we loved the house and all it's character, it was downtown and not the greatest area.  I had bought five acres of land several years into that remodel and by about year number eight, we decided to finish up the last of it and move to the country.  The deal was that Sylvia would get a pool, I would get my dream woodworking shop and the dogs would have lots of room to run.  

Five years into building the shop and I still had not built anything of my design and not much of anything beyond regular trim work.  I had been pouring over all the woodworking magazines: American Woodworker and WOOD for years; Fine Woodworking and Woodwork magazine came in as I gained the basic knowledge the former magazines target toward the "beginner" woodworker.  I had watched David Marks on DIY Woodworks, discovered a young man named Marc Spagnuolo who was creating online content that was geared toward the woodworking community, and started seeing more and more online activity to follow.  

I was well on my way to being one of those guys whose real hobby is the shop, not building furniture.  I was comfortable.  Yes, I had big dreams to design and build, but I was building a shop, dammit, and it needed to be perfect before I started down that road.  The problem was, nothing is ever perfect and if you're going to do anything, at some point you have to actually start doing it! 

Queue a request from a life long friend, who had just found, after trying for quite some time that they had finally got pregnant and in my enthusiastic joy for them, the words coming from my mouth, "I'd love to build you something for the baby."   Oh my god!!  What was I thinking!?  The shop isn't done!  I'm not ready for this!  Take it back!  Quick, take it BACK!  After the initial shock of what I'd committed to subsided, I thought about it and, hey! I've read about it.  I've studied it for years.  I CAN DO THIS!!  That statement is key!  YOU can do this!!  It's not rocket science.  It's a series of steps toward an end product.  

The result of me finally doing, instead of planning to do has been a turning point in my life. I'm in the shop as much as humanly possible.  I've not only dreamed of a life of design and woodworking, I'm doing it and although there are times I still freak out over one process or another, I think it through and approach it with confidence.  Everyone can do what I'm doing, you just have to believe in yourself and GET WOODWORKING!!  

Enjoy your one shot at this life and make it everything you dream!!



BarbS said...

Great post, Vic. For that new baby, a cradle is the obvious. Or, for a smaller contribution, how about a 'woodworker's mobile' to hang above a crib? Lots of things would be appreciated: a wood frame for new baby pictures, even. Your friends will love a hand made gift. Take heart. it needn't be something big and time consuming!

Vic Hubbard said...

Barb makes a great point. You do not have to go big on your first time out. I did, but that's just me. The key is to just do something and enjoy the process.

Nick R. said...

My story is startlingly similar, where the first years of working wood was rehabilitating an american four square (1880's). When my first child was in utero, my first "real" furniture project was undertaken, a crib. It's been a whirlwind of fun since then. And the key point (as Vic said), if I can do it, so can you.