My shop, no matter where it may move, provides a feeling of “home” to me. It is one place I can go and everything outside vanishes from it’s sense of comfort and freedom. I can look around at the large boards of lumber and dream up of new things to make, new challenges to overcome. The smell of fresh wood brings me back to previous pieces I’ve built and the experiences involved in them. The scent of hard maple reminding me of a summer building workbenches with my friend or black walnut from which I made my first chess set on my spring pole lathe. While my memory doesn’t always serve me as well as I would like, when I am in my shop I remember every moment associated with it.
I am fortunate to have a father that let me use his tools when I was young. I’ve spent countless hours in the garage doing everything from using a jigsaw and orbital sander to make swords and learning how to sharpen my first chisels and planes. I got excited to have friends come over and split logs for the coming winter. While most stayed inside, I spent my winter evenings in the cold of the garage practicing how to turn on a spring pole lathe.
Don’t think that every minute in the shop was fun, because there were many times I spent hours trying to repair old furniture that just wouldn’t cooperate. Parts would break while trying to disassemble for a glue up…….
I can’t think of much more to add to this list.
Although my memory once again fails me, my thoughts looking back on my years of goofing around in the shop are by in large positive. Even in those times where things didn’t go as planned or a job wasn’t as creatively rewarding as others, I learned how to solve the problems at hand and gained knowledge I would not have attained otherwise.
Not only does the shop remind me of jobs I have done or skills I have gained, but more importantly, the friendships that grew there. Time spent splitting firewood, shaving down longbows, building workbenches, building a bellows and learning to forge, sharpening our new tools and helping build a jewelry box for a friend’s fiance have been things that have brought us closer together and given us stories to tell. To this day those stories continue to come as well as new challenges that give us ways to collaborate and grow as friends.
Sure, things don’t always go smooth, but at the end of the day I am glad my shop can be a place with good memories. Isn’t that what makes a place home?