Almost a decade ago we made the big decision to leave the city and head to the suburbs. My daughter was going to be starting middle school in a year and we needed to get her into a stable school system. The move to the burbs was a big change. Moving out of a large city and into what we considered “countryside” was a change in pace. One of the other big changes was … space.
What do you do with space? We had furniture from “condo living.” The condo furniture just simply didn’t fill up the house and there were outdoor spaces that needed to be filled as well. The first item I started looking for was a large farm table to put outside in a covered area we have between the garage and house. Have you ever looked at the prices for a 12-foot farm table? They are ridiculous! I was talking with my dad about the prices for tables when he said the words “I have a bunch of lumber I’m not using, you can have it if you want to build one.”
How could a money manager like me pass up a value such as “free wood?” The offer was too good to pass up, the only problem was that I had absolutely no experience building anything. I had never designed a table or furniture of any sort. I didn’t know a thing about woodworking, but the die had been cast.
That farm table seems like a long time ago, and since then the house has been filled with another dozen projects. Three more tables, TV stand, a few beds, some gifts for friends…and my latest creation…a turntable stand. Woodworking became an escape. During the pandemic it was wonderful to have a new hobby which required hours of detailed work.
There are many life lessons that can be taken from woodworking.
Patience being one of them. You may be starting a large project, but it is the details that will matter. There will be times when doing joining two pieces of wood together where you can do something simple; or spend three days doing something which will “wow” other woodworkers.
One of the keys to woodworking is to figure out how to maximize effort. Saving for retirement is similar…it’s not something that can be accomplished in one sitting. Small goals need to be set and achieved before you ”punch the clock one last time.”
While creating something out of material a craftsperson needs to make thousands and thousands of small decisions. I used to stare at projects in my woodshop and think over them for hours. Most of that was probably wasted time. With thousands of decisions to make you need to keep moving, accomplishing small goals while simultaneously working on the big ones.
Ultimately you can teach an old dog new tricks. I didn’t start woodworking until my early 40s and although I am certainly no expert…some of what I have been able to accomplish is reasonably good…or I have kind friends. You are never too old to start doing anything well.
Below you can see some of the other things that I have built over the years!