He'd chuck what wood a wood chuck could chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood.
I've always liked that little rhyme. But, onto the real reason for this post. Why do I work with wood. The reasons are many, and looking back in time, they are a lot different then I initially thought. Let me start with the reason I went full 'bore' into woodworking.
The event that drove me into eventually
This is where the looking back says my interest started earlier than this point, as I already had a few tools such as a router and other miscellaneous tools. But this project spawned a much more focused thought process. I had it in my head to never walk into a furniture store again. So, far, I've been able to completely avoid them.
One of the things I learned from that first major project is to never buy hardwood from a box store (Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, etc). Granted, the wood was fine to work with, and I probably saved a lot of time as I didn't have to mill much of it, but my goodness was it expensive. I think I spent around $800 on the lumber alone. I think I've been able to build similar beds for half that cost by milling lumber purchased from a local sawmill. But, that point doesn't really fit into this narrative. Oh well, moving on.
When I completed those beds, I have to say I was quite pleased with myself. They were sturdy, they looked great, and I couldn't help but think that for around $1500 (tools and materials) I had created two beds that would sell at a furniture store for thousands of dollars each. Although I've also come to realize that I'm using time in building furniture, so the 'savings' are somewhat debatable.
That project started a string of projects that never cease to end, as well as a spending spree on tools. I might be able to count up all the beds I've made, but I really haven't tried to keep track anymore. In fact at this time, I have three more beds I really need to get done soon. I've made a dining room table to fit our family. Numerous cabinets and shelves. Night stands, knick knacks, and quite a few toy swords and other miscellaneous toys for the boys to play with.
When I was thinking of writing this post, those beds were what I thought drove me to woodworking. They definitely catapulted the time and money invested, but I think the desire was from much further back, and from much deeper within. Looking back, I think I started down this path much earlier.
When our first son was born, I had the urge to build something for him. So, with some pre-cut pine boards, a drill, circular saw, and a router, I put together a changing table. Currently it is being used as the base for a desk for our boys.
In college, I designed and built my loft. The lumber I used went through a few transformations depending on the location and type of bed. But, between studying, chasing girls, working, and chasing girls, there wasn't much time for building stuff.
And growing up, I always seemed to be wanting to build something. A playhouse using the lumber laying around the farm. A tree house. A go-cart. With ample tools, materials, and time available during the summer, that is usually what I tried to do. Most of my creations only got half built. Most were pretty ugly. But I definitely learned how to appreciate doing something yourself. It has been very hard over the years to realize that I can indeed do anything I want, but I don't have the time to do it all. I have to be choosy and prioritize.
I'm guessing that this drive to build things was what led me to engineering. And for a while it used to surprise me at how many engineers that I work with are also woodworkers. Not so much anymore though. We engineers need to build things, and the environment for engineers at Rockwell Collins where I work is more about paperwork than design. Woodworking provides that outlet to build and create for us desk jockeys.
This has been more of a philosophical history lesson then anything else. Therapeutic in some ways. Maybe that is the point of this blog altogether.