My Dad had a fairly well-equipped shop, although no hand tools other than a brace & bits and chisels which I regularly ruined. He coaxed some beautiful work out of 50's vintage Craftsman tablesaw, bandsaw, and jointer. I learned early how to make things, take things apart, and fix things.
Only a little woodworking in my 20's (a nice set of bookshelves and a finger-jointed pine box) - too busy destroying brain cells. Ditto in my 30's - mostly closet organizers, but some toys for the kids. Too busy for woodworking in most of my 40's, recovering from prior 2 decades.
In the fall of '98, I decided if I bought a decent tablesaw, I could build kitchen cabinets to replace the aging, ugly stuff in our kitchen. Never planned to get addicted to woodworking, only redo a kitchen. Then, on a trip east to visit the folks, I found my grandfather's rusting Stanley type 11 #3C in Dad's garage. Took it home, removed the rust by electrolysis, learned how to sharpen (Scary SharpTM), and for the first time in my life experienced the joy of a well-tuned vintage hand tool. Slippery slope, they call it... I am now thoroughly addicted to old tools and woodworking. I've acquired many old planes and a couple of new ones, as well as a couple more tailed apprentices. I've also made a scrub plane from a St James Bay casting, and a wood panel-raising plane.
My shop is a tiny one-car garage. With son Andy's help, I've re-wired it, insulated, put in a heater and proper lighting. It's my favorite place to be - my time there is precious to me, a time of renewal and refreshment.
Copyright © Peter L Berglund, 2006. All rights reserved; content may not be reproduced without permission of author.