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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Manning, SC
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    1,777

    Default Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    Mine came late in life. I met Dennis Miller of Miller Bee Supplies in MD at a meeting. Dennis is almost quadriplegic from a diving accident that occurred when he was in his twenties. I asked him how he was able to produce all that he sold being in wheelchair and in his condition. He told me that he had help that he trained to use the saws and all the other equipment that he had in his shop. Since I barely passed screw driving and hammer 101 in school, I told Dennis that I'd help him for free if he would show me how to do basic woodworking.

    That was what, 15 years or so ago. It's a wonderful relationship. He had the knowledge, I did the work. I no longer live in MD, but whenever I get back there, I make sure I go and spend some time with him and continue to help.

    It's funny where life leads you.........
    Last edited by snl; 01-12-2014 at 09:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Pleasant Shade, TN
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    When I was a little kid, maybe five or six, my Grandparents would babysit all six grandchildren. Grandpa would take us older kids to the basement and we would whittle sticks of wood, make pinewood derby cars, and build things like bird houses and bird feeders. Thinking about it brings back some very fond memories.
    11 years ago, when I was fifteen, I got my first "real" job helping a friend of ours with his construction business. We built barns, houses, fences, you name it. I learned so much on that job. Then I went to college, where I was out of that whole world for a while. But, I'm back now, and I hope to get a wood shop built this summer. Can't wait to get back into woodworking! I really enjoy it.
    So, what little skills I have, I attribute to those two people....my grandpa who got me interested and my friend who had the courage to take on a kid with very little skill.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,096

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    I am one of the lucky ones who had shop class in high school. I took general woodworking and cnc milling, made a walnut/maple checkerboard cutting board, a fishing pole rack (hehe gun rack), can't remember the other stuff.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Southern Connecticut
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    I teach Technology & Engineering education. I learned much of it in college and then taught it for a number of years. Teaching teenagers how to use all that equipment is a very stressful journey.

    Oddly enough I avoided woodworking in high school (though I spent a lot of time in the other tech areas).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    3,587

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    My first woodworking experiences happened because my Dad didn't keep his tools secured and my Mom had three other kids to worry about. As the son of a contractor and the son in law of a contractor. I was a construction worker who eventually became (surprise surprise) a contractor. Later I started and ran a small custom cabinet shop. Being inspired by publications about fine woodworking I have dabbled in building heirloom quality furniture and musical instruments (from kits) to give my daughters something to fight over when I'm gone. Other than rough carpentry though I'm self taught using books and magazines as references.
    5Y-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Orem, UT
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    I was (and to a large degree, still am) a huge nerd and have many interests that have leant themselves well to bee keeping. Pottery and woodworking are probably the biggest contributors. I grew up around those who built things with a Grandfather who is an architect who not only designed but built most of the homes that my extended family lived in. My Dad is a contractor so it is no surprise that I eventually found myself in an advanced cabinetry and wood working class in high school.
    My wife and I finally got into bee keeping last year and I was only limited by the tools I had at the time but still was able to make a few nucs and boxes using only a skill saw to do the rabbets and such. My Father saw my interest and I inherited my Grandfather's old but extremely hefty and reliable Delta table saw and then I was able to make frames, boxes, SBBs, top covers, feeding frames and everything else that I could find or design plans for. We love our bees and I am looking forward to having my 9 yr old son make his own equipment and tend his own hive this coming year.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Forsyth, Missouri
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    I never really knew my grandfather as he died before I was 1 year old but when my grandmother died 17 years later we inherited several pieces of old furniture they were loose at the joints and had been painted dark colors. As it turned out my grandfather had handmaid them in the garage. I started taking a round glass china closet apart and striping the layers of paint off. That is when i realized the very small saw marks were from my grandfather using a hand saw to make rounded cuts because he only had 2 old hand saws.
    It now sets in our dining room clear coated so you can see how much time and effort he put in to it.

    I now have a 40 x 40 wood shop that my 2 sons and I have built and are finishing up the outside dust collecting system.
    Between the weather and getting sick we haven't been able to do much since Christmas.
    I am so behind in making new equipment for spring.
    10 nuc's ordered.
    Zone 6b 1400'

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    1,777

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    This is a GREAT heart-warming thread! I hope every woodworker will share their stories here.........

  9. #9

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    I think it's in my blood. Both my Dad and both grandfathers were carpenters and they taught me when I was young how to properly swing a hammer and use a handsaw. I also watched them build a lake cabin while I played with the scrap wood to hone my skills. Then in junior high I took woodshop and eventually, many years later, built my own home and helped my son build his. But I must say keeping bees has allowed me to rekindle my love for woodworking and if I could make one suggestion, never shortcut on tools. Having the right tool for the job makes all the difference in the world.
    Ken Barber - Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast
    www.barberberryfarm.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    68

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    My first woodworking experience (if you can really call it that) was when my dad built me a workbench next to and 2-1/2 feet lower than his - I must have been six. I can't really remember not knowing how to work with wood. I helped dad and his friends build their decks, renovate rentals, took woodshop, etc. My dad is 90 and I am in my 50s. I have a sears table saw he gave me that is probably the same age as me or older (show in the attached), a 1960-something craftsman router and chop saw and lots of old planes and chisels. They are still my primary tools (although I admit I would like new ones - but I have a hard time making myself spend the money since these get the job done).

    Today I used them to build a new top bar hive with screened floor and solid bottom so that I can check for Varroa (the picture is the back of the hive with a sliding door to open the back and pull out the sticky board from below the screen.
    back.jpg
    And the front:
    front.jpg

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,423

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    Possibly the earliest childhood memory I have is messing around in my Dad's shed, finding a couple nails and a hammer, and banging them into the workbench. The standard punishment in those days for anything, was a good whack or two and designed to make sure it hurt. So I do remember the fear I felt when my Dad came asking who did it. Looked at my bro and we both said "not me". Mt Dad who could not figure who it was let it go with a warning.

    But banging in nails was such irresistible fun that I did it some more and eventually received my just deserts.

    Then as a teenager I helped the boss drop a load of timber next to the dropsaw and sawbench & he told me to cut it into nuc sides. Since I'd never used those tools before & telling him that might not have been a good plan I took a close look to figure how they worked, set them up and got started. Went well, enjoyable even.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,419

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    My dad made almost everything and fixed almost everything. When I was younger he would make arrangements to use the power tools at the high school. Later we owned all of the typical stuff like band saws, table saws, radial arm saws, miter saws etc. Then I was a carpenter for 8 years or so...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    1,777

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    A great thread.......let's keep it going!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Pleasant Shade, TN
    Posts
    410

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    Glad I wasn't the only one putting nails in places they didn't belong!
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    774

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    This thread really has me laughing at myself. I am the total opposite of the rest of you, it seems. Never took a shop class and my dad was a heckofa fisherman but couldn't hammer a nail to save his life. When I decided I wanted to keep bees, I looked at the Dadant catalog. When I saw how expensive everything was, I decided I'd have to make my own or forget the whole idea. Problem was that I hate power tools. I've seen first hand some of the damage they can do. But I wanted to keep bees, so...I bought a few hand tools. I use hand saws, regular old-fashioned hammer 'n nails, a hand planer. Eventually I added a Skil saw, but when it quit on me, I went back to my hand saws. I do use a router for frame rests, however, but that is my only concession to the whole power trip.

    Now I know it takes me twice as long to build a box, but this is a hobby for me, so it really doesn't matter how long it takes. It's considerably more work, too, but I consider the extra exercise to be a plus, not a minus. The whole process gives me the greatest sense of accomplishment and...satisfaction. And along the way I finally did learn how to hammer a nail!



    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Pottstown, Pennyslvania, USA
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    My Father taught shop at vocational school when I was young and later designed, and helped build our house. I enjoyed helping him when I was young. I later caught the woodworking bug and read Fine Woodworking, and the likes for years. I went on to make furniture for the house and assembled an OK workshop. This was all long before I had bees. Being able to build the beekeeping equipment is definitely handy in a pinch. I still buy most of my boxes, due to time constraints and the cost of lumber. I recently found a source for reasonably priced pine and have 200 + board feet on order. I'll bee ready to build anything as needed. There is a certain level of satisfaction knowing your bees are thriving in a box you made.
    Dan Boylan, At it since 2007 in Pa Zone 6B, 13 hives, treat when needed.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,822

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    You guys should all take a pay it forward Florida Vacation. If you each "showed" me how to build 10-15 boxes, lids and a few pallets I think I could learn!

    I just bought a $40.00 table saw.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    1,705

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    Hey Mbeck,
    Let me know next time you're in my neck of the woods; stop in and I'll give you a free day of hands-on instruction on building hive woodenware. Serious.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    I feel that I have all is played with wood in some form. Though my grandfather was a great wood carver. Have all of his chisels. Dad did a lot of remodeling on junk houses. I have been in or around construction all of my life. I a might I am a tool junkie.
    David

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee, USA.
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: Where/when did you learn your woodworking skills?

    Started when I was 9. Just wanted to do it. After years of mistakes and reading what i could I have gotten pretty proficient. Thankful I learned as bees is most of what i do and building my own saves me a big chunk of change.

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