Looking back, I can’t say that my Dad is the reason that I began working with wood but I can say that he introduced me to the craft. He used to build all kinds of things for our home growing up, from wall decorations, to benches and blanket chests.
He had a fully equipped shop in the basement of my childhood home. I can remember going into our basement and drilling holes in pieces of pine he had laying around. I wasn’t doing anything productive, just drilling holes but it was a blast. I can remember his radial arm saw, a very popular saw in those days, of course his drill press and he also had a lathe. I seem to remember another tool down there but I can’t remember specifically what it was, just this looming shadow in the corner of my memory. Maybe a table saw? Most of the time I spent down there was sweeping up the sawdust he made. He definitely didn’t have a dust collection system. I’m pretty sure that I’m still waiting to be paid for completing that job.
Most of the lumber he used came from the local hardware store. It was mostly 3/4″ pine and from the photos below you’ll see that it has held up pretty well. I can remember Dad working the basement, building this wares to sell at local craft shows. I can’t remember how well he did at the shows but he always seemed to be making more so I assume he must have sold things here and there.
This first piece is a blanket chest that he built. You can see how over time the top has cupped a bit. This must have been a piece he didn’t feel was up to standard for selling because you can see how the paint bled beyond the lines of the stencil on the top. The construction is mostly screws, and I assume glue but you can also see how the front and back of the chest have been let into the sides.
The next piece is a garbage can he built. I remember this sitting underneath our wall-mounted, corded phone in our kitchen. Again, it is made from 3/4″ pine with a slanted lift type lid. It features brass hinges and buttons to cover the screw holes, as well as a heart decoration on the lid. I like how he used wood filler to help stabilize the knot on the front of it.
The final piece is a bench he built. I can remember this sitting in my parent’s bedroom as a child. Again, 3/4″ pine lumber and simple screw and glue joinery with the exception of the dado he used to attach the seat to the sides.
There are lots of other prices he built here and there. I’ve spotted a footstool and a quilt rack. All of these pieces are at least 20 years old at this point. So, again while my father didn’t get me into woodworking he definitely introduced me to it and it’s nice to look back at some of the pieces he built in the basement shop.