How I Got Into Woodworking

Since I have several building projects to share, I thought I would reminisce about how I got into DIY building and then in future posts start sharing some of my projects.

A little over two years ago I was obsessed with Pinterest, especially pinning home decor, which is funny because at the time I did not have my own space to decorate. I guess I was collecting ideas for the future. I found myself pinning several DIY furniture items, mostly because I liked the look, but I also liked the prospect of saving money. Slowly over time I started researching how to build your own furniture. Ana White was my go-to-girl with building 101: what tools to use, how to use them, the measurements of wood, etc. The more I researched the more I thought, “I could do this!” Looking back on my childhood it’s not that surprising. I was the the kid helping my dad build a deck, crafting like crazy with my mom, trying to building my own tree fort (which my dad built most of), and chopping down trees with my cousin so we could build a couch (with colorful leopard print cushions, obviously). So I got it in my head that DIY furniture building was my new hobby.

When I shared this with Chris he was not so thrilled, which led me to be discouraged and feel like he wasn’t being supportive of me wanting to try something new (which is really hard for me because my biggest fear is failing). I get where he is coming from. When there is something new I want to try, I dive in wholeheartedly, money and all. When I wanted to compete in my first triathlon, I would dream (day and night) about training, competing, and all the goodies that came with it, like a bike and onsie tri-suit. It probably would have been better if I actually exercised, but I got there eventually. When we got our DSLR I trid to learn all about it and wanted to buy all the expensive equipment (I only bought one inexpensive lens and some books, so I controlled myself). And now I wanted to buy a boatload of tools, which are not cheap. While Chris wasn’t opposed to me trying something new, he knows that I can go full force and then drop the hobby soon after, meaning my money was somewhat spent in vain. At this point we were engaged, so the thought of me spending all this money was hard for him because he saw what we could be using it for in the future. And I saw that too, just in a different way. Instead of buying at $2000 Pottery Barn entertainment center, I wanted to buy all the tools and materials to build it myself, which would still cost less than the original piece. While he still wasn’t completely sold on my new passion, he decided to be supportive and let me try it. So on Black Friday 2012 we went to Lowes and Home Depot and dropped the big bucks on a miter saw, Kreg Jig set, and other basic tools and supplies. A few weeks later I bought some supplies and had a Fresno family friend teach me how to use all my tools.

Since our wedding was coming up, I started envisioning DIY projects. I started small by making flower boxes and signs for the tables, as well as signs for behind the head table and for my friends who helped with the wedding. My original plan was to make a console table with drawers to put flowers in for the ceremony, but then my ideas changed and I still haven’t finished my first official furniture build. I still have it. It currently supports our printer and other random things while waiting to be finished. I know it would be an easy project, but I keep putting it off because there is no where in our current apartment to put it (besides storage for later). After the wedding I did work on the console table more, but I didn’t start any new projects because I knew we would be moving soon and I didn’t want to build something to find out later that it wouldn’t work in our new apartment. And I didn’t want our moving truck bill to be even more than it already was going to be.

Before Princeton-63

All I need to do is add drawers and a top…


Yet it has remained unfinished for almost two years!

When it comes to building I usually face two challenges. One, I have to build (or at least cut to size to take home) all of my projects at Chris’s parents’ house because we are not allowed to use power tools at our apartment, even on our patio (though I still use my electric sander out there). While his parents’ house is a great space to use (and it’s very generous of them to let me store all my tools and extra lumber everywhere), they live an hour away, so working on a project takes some dedication. I like to have large chunks of time to work on projects and that isn’t always present on a Sunday afternoon between church functions, especially factoring in set up and clean up. So often times I put off working on projects because I don’t think I have enough time (when really I have time to make some progress), though I have been doing better about that this fall. My second challenge is starting. I have so many ideas, but I also see all the challenges they present (taking forever to buy all the materials, lack of time, workshop being an hour away, figuring out how to transport it back to our apartment, etc.), so I am hesitant to start. But eventually I do and I’m glad that I have started some projects this fall (3 to be exact!). Soon I will post about my first big project and then I will share the projects I have completed this fall.


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