Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Obligatory Introduction...

Let me start by saying I am not a professional writer or photographer; any expectations for entertainment and informational value should start three notches below the lowest score on your personal grading scale. That being said, lets move on to the first post from the WV Woodshed.

Some thirty-two plus (32+) years ago, I presented my father with a discount coupon for "One Free Woodwork", which I still have tucked away somewhere in my box of important mementos. As with most young boys, my interest in the craft was sporadic and unfocused. The schools in my area didn't offer wood shop as a curriculum and there were no other avenues to pursue my youthful interest. "WILD" teenage experiences, unfocused college years and young family life and responsibilities soon made woodworking a distant memory. Let me be clear, "All roads lead to where I stand". In no way, shape or form would I change anything about where I am today or the experiences I have gone through to get here, even if I could. I just wish woodworking had been a creative outlet and a part of the journey along the way.

Fast Forward to the Last year...

A little over a year ago everything changed. My wife and two children moved back into my childhood home, in Bluefield, WV, to help take care of my mother, while I continued to commute to Augusta, GA for seven (7) months. Finding gainful employment in West Virginia can be a painstaking and patience testing experience. During this time, while I was in West Virginia on the weekends, I began looking through my Father's old tools. He had passed away in January 2000 and most of the tools were still sitting in the exact same place he had left them. While none of the tools were high quality or even moderately valuable, the sentimental value and inspirational impacts of being around his old tools was indescribable. During the week, while I was away from the family, I filled all my free time with seeking, reading and watching information about woodworking. The vast knowledge base available from online resources such as blogs, videos and vendor sites is enough to gorge a person, which I did with an insatiable appetite.

Finally in May 2011 I was fortunate enough to find an employer in West Virginia and move back with my family. While I wanted to immediately begin to put into practice all the things I had absorbed over the past year, several obstacles, mainly home repairs and remodeling projects, needed to be completed first.

I am still finishing up a few of the larger projects, but I have been able to free up some time recently to initiate a few smaller woodworking specific projects. In early September I threw together a tool organizer to store all my squares and other measuring tools.
While I feel the end product serves the intended purpose, I think I could have done quite a bit more to enhance the overall quality of the project. Time hasn't been my friend over the last year, so I tend to rush way too much and cut corners where I can, but shouldn't. I did the required end grain cutting board in late September, and learned quite a bit regarding grain direction and the glue up process. 
In mid-October I slapped together my first enclosed cabinet to house my 1970's B&D router.
Again the rush to get something up and functional overcame my desire to perfect everything, but in the end the router works and the cabinet is very stable. In addition to the router table I have made several adjustments to the shop area including additional counter space and shelving. My latest project has been a hand cut dovetail and box joint box with a purpleheart accent handle.

While I admit, epoxy saved several mistakes; generally I am fairly happy with the results. The biggest thing I've taken away from this project is the realization that all projects must be completed in order to actually learn from the mistakes and the methods to repair or disguise the errors.

If I’ve managed to keep your interest this long, I appreciate your willingness to suffer through the obligatory introduction. My current intention, so as to not over-commit, is to post updates twice a month. The updates will include information related to my successes, failures and everything in between. I will also discuss positive and negative experiences with woodworking related tools and products. Generally, if it has to do with woodworking and it passes through my woodshed, you’re highly likely to hear my ramblings.

Until my next post,

Keep Your Mind on your Fingers and your Fingers on your Hands!!!


  1. Welcome to blogging, Stephen.

    It looks like you're learning quite a bit with these projects. Keep them up and keep posting.

  2. Obviously your getting into the craft Stephen......good intro.....SUPER!!!!

  3. Good post. Better pictures will come with practice. I like to use room lighting rather than the flash so I set up my camera on a tripod and use a longer exposure. To stop myself from shaking the camera I set the camera timer for 2 seconds.

    Cool tool organizer. I'd like to see a bigger picture.