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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh the Humanity!!

Another woodworking blog?!?  Say it ain't so!

Haha, sorry.  I would blog about something else, but woodworking is about all I live and breath these days.  Oh sure, I have a full time day job, in IT...for now.  But my mind is constantly building the current or next project, always thinking about woodworking.  Some would call it an obsession.  I can't turn it off.  Starting new projects are the worst.  I often lose several hours of sleep when I start a new project.  I will lay in bed for hours turning over every little detail in my head.  What makes it even worse than that is I have a CAD background (sketchup is a beautiful thing) and it also fuels this fire.  I feel like if I can draw it, I can build it.

In case you have read this far and are still awake, I can give a little background about me.  I am 37 years old (for 4 more days), I am a husband of 9 1/2 years, and we have 3 dogs.  Yep, we're DINKs.  As I mentioned, I have a CAD background.  I worked at a GIS mapping firm for 7 or so years.  I always had an interest in doing more mechanical or architectural drafting, but never got a chance.  Facing a layoff situation, I switched gears about 10 years ago and went into IT.  Currently I am an IT systems administrator for a large global company.  I like it well enough.  It pays the bills and feeds my habit.  But it just doesn't satisfy the soul like woodworking does.

How did I get into woodworking?  It was a natural progression for me.  Growing up, my Dad was and still is a handy guy.  He has always done all of his own home improvement work.  From building new houses, new additions, and garages, to roofing, hanging cabinets, plumbing, electrical and so on.  I always involved myself with his projects in any way I could.  I could swing a hammer and help with the basic stuff, but I never really took on any big projects without him.  He was the brains, I was the grunt.  It worked well for us and still does.

Fast forward to about 15 years ago, I had my own house built.  It wasn't anything special, but it was mine.  I was unmarried at the time and I was pretty proud of my little bachelor pad.  Well, it didn't take long before the DIY gene kicked in.  I knocked out some walls.  Yes, intentionally.  The house was small and had 3 bedrooms.  I was unmarried and didn't have any kids.  I decided I had one too many bedrooms and needed a bigger living room.  And of course my Dad was right there with me the whole way.  With that done, now my attention turned a new entertainment unit to fit my new space.  I probably shopped around for 3 months looking for something just right.  This was way before what the internet is today, so there was no online shopping to speak of.

Furniture really wasn't part of our repertoire, but we went ahead and dove in.  About 6-8 sheets of oak plywood, several coats of stain and poly later, I had an entertainment center that fit perfectly the spot in my living room.  It had everything I wanted, storage for books, CDs, VHS (again, this was 15 years ago), and electronics.  Oh sure it had flaws galore, but I think ole Norm would be proud, it was chock full of brad nails.  I was so proud!

Good news?  I was hooked!  I loved every minute of making the entertainment center.  I wanted more.  Much more.

Bad news?  I had no way of having a shop of my own.  I was always welcome to use my Dad's garage and tools, but he was usually using them for his DIY projects.  I had no garage or basement.  I was also still in the "Norm Abrams" mindset of obtaining every power tool known to man.  Hand tools were for that weird guy on PBS.  So a makeshift shop in my living room was out of the question.  So I waited.

Several years later, I married and we moved into our first house together.  It is a new construction and YES, I had a full basement to work with.  FINALLY!  A shop all to my own.  Anyway, we are still here at this house and I have spent the last 3-5 years collecting tools, reading blogs, taking classes and making furniture and other odds and ends.  I have since discovered hand tools in all of their gloriously quiet splendor.  But I am not a purist, I still use my power tools, but mostly for dimensioning rough lumber.  I try to cut all my joinery with hand tools.  I just enjoy it more, no other reasons.

So that's how I got here.  Why have I decided to blog?  Not sure.  I said for awhile now that blogging really isn't for me.  Who would read MY mindless ramblings?  But, I think its because I am 37...er...38 years old and I don't have many woodworking friends.  I have a few, yes.  But none of them are as psychotic about woodworking as I am.  A couple might come close, but unfortunately I don't get to hang out with them much.  So I think I am trying to fill that gap.  Yes, there are many blogs out there.  Yes, I read nearly all of them or at least the ones I know about.  Unlike my real life, with my own blog I can ramble on about woodworking as long as I want and not have to look at your eyes glaze over.  I say this because I feel bad for anyone I know who brings up woodworking in my presence.  I truly do ramble on and on to the point that I feel like people are looking for the exits and thinking of excuses to leave.  At least maybe this way, you can politely go onto the next blog or whatever and I am none the wiser; if you are still here, that is...haha.

What is my goal with this blog?  I can't tell the future, but for right now not much.  I think I will mostly just use this for my commentary about my own personal journey into woodworking.  I will most definitely share my projects and maybe some build along photos.  But Marc, Matt and Shannon or any of the other pillars of online woodworking have anything to worry about at this time (MUCH respect!).  I don't consider myself all that photogenic, so you won't be seeing me on camera or video any time soon.  Maybe someday I'll climb out of that shell, but again I am 38 and it hasn't happened yet.  I have no intentions of educating anyone.  I just want to share what I am doing and tell you about my work.  But you never know, things can change :)

Oh, I almost forgot!  The Half-Blind Woodworker?  What is that all about?  Well part of it is obviously referring to half-blind dovetails.  It's one of my favorite joints, if I really have a favorite.  Also, it refers to me as I often joke with most people that I know, saying that I am half blind.  This is because I was born legally blind in my left eye.  It's not really any big deal.  It doesn't slow me down or cause any real issues.  Not really anything I even think about much, until someone throws their keys at me to catch or invites me to a 3D movie.  But people who know me can identify with it, so that's what I went with.  Besides, I almost named this blog "The Werdy Noodworker."  I know, right?!?  Go ahead and count yourself lucky....HAHA.

Anyway sorry for the rambling, I hope to keep my regular posts much shorter.  But for a first post, its hard to not pore out your life history, I think.

Until next time!  Justin
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