Who or what started your WWing bug

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Phil S

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Phil Soper
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My Grandfather, Edmund Soper who was president of Trinity Divinity(now a small school named Duke)
The man had seven doctor degrees but seemed to get the most enjoyment showing me how to carve church pulpit fronts and miniature church windows. I was only 6 or 7 years old when I spent a full week by his side as he picked the perfect wood and then transformed it into a carved stained glass window frame. I was too young to learn the exact process but he surely taught me the joy that comes from transforming a piece of wood into a heirloom. I have all his tools and hope to someday reach his level of expertise


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Corporate Member
Another one who can trace it back their dad. Dad was a DIY kinda guy from electric to plumbing to brick and mortar. He seemed like he could do anything. I guess he really was superman and the lone ranger all rolled into one. At least in my eyes.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


New User
My grandfather was a clocksmith. I used to go visit my grandparents for a couple weeks every summer when I was younger. I would sit in the cellar and watch grandpa make his clocks all day. He past away when I was 9. I wish I had had "the bug" when I was that young. I would have loved to kept all of his old tools.

Fast forward 20+ years. I bought LOML an original piece of art for her birthday a couple years ago. Me not wanting to pay someone an absurd amount of money to frame it, I decided to make one myself. 2 years later, I still haven't made that frame. :rotflm: But, I have had the pleasure of building some other projects and spending way too much money on tools. :thumbs_up Maybe I'll get around to that frame soon.:gar-Bi


New User
1. Always liked watching people make something from nothing.
2. My Dad.
3. Necessity.
4. I like hobbies! Anything new to learn.
5. NCWW.

Since I was a kid, I've always liked watching people do ANY type of craft or art. I always had great vision (an "idea person"), but lacked the real skills to do any of them well. But it didn't stop me from dabbling. Growing up, my dad had a ShopSmith in the basement. He loved this thing, but for some reason I rarely saw him using it. He bought it in 1957 to build his first child a kitchen playset (he was VERY proud of this... photos of it somehow wound up in slide shows every year). So, fast forward abt 30 yrs later, when another of my hobbies-- movies --got me into home theaters. My father was getting too old to enjoy his ShopSmith and gave it to me. I used it to build a home theater in my walk-up attic. If you have Quicktime installed, you can view a virtual tour of my first incarnation of the theater built completely by me... mostly out of wood, including a "fake wall" out of MDF in the front that housed a front projection TV (now gone and replaced by a 10' screen).

So, a couple years later, I decided to try and build a celtic drum. Another excuse to buy new tools. At about that time, while planning on the build, I stumbled upon NCWW. Until this past year, woodworking was a means to an end. I have to say, and this is without a doubt, my JOY of woodworking (i.e. "the bug") didn't happen until I was inspired to see so many beautiful pieces built by all of you! I would have never even messed with bowl turning, if it weren't for NCWW.

OH... and thank you, dad, for the ShopSmith. During his retirement on Lake Gaston, he enjoyed it for a few years (FINALLY) making bird houses. He passed a few years ago... I wish he was around to see what I've been building with it... and he would have LOVED to know I love that machine as much as he did.


My Daddy is a great inspiration as well. He was what he referred to as, a Jack Of all trades and a master of none. We changed engines in cars, rebuilt cars from wrecks, built rooms on to the house, beds, tables, you name we probably done it. I thought we were doing it for the fun of it, I later found out it was we couldn't afford it any other way. I learned a lot from my ol' man. Now and days my Dad is not doing to well health wise. Money wise he's doing much better. But you know I will always treasure those moments together with my Daddy. 42 years old and my Dad is still my hero.

Are you sure you weren't referring to my grandfather (on my father's side). My grandfather did plumbing, HVAC, electrical (more electrical and HVAC than most others), construction, engine repair, etc. Growing up I spent a great deal of my time after school and during summer breaks helping him on all his projects. I've built, wired, and plumbed complete homes and barns. I've fixed more air conditioners and heaters during my years helping him than I can remember. And with his 20-year old Dodge van (before he finally replaced it) spent untold hours helping him repair it and keep it running -- often on the side of some road.

From all this came a passion both for building things as well as understanding how they work. Some of his trades I picked up moreso (electrical, construction, mechanical repairs) than others (plumbing and HVAC). I picked up the basics of electrical from my grandfather back when I was just 6 during the construction of our new house in Ohio -- much to my parents' surprise. Sadly my grandfather passed away back in 1994 while helping a family friend build their new house -- he was never any good at making money because he was always lending his help freely. To this day there is not a single day that I don't think about him at least several times a day. In many ways my cousins (all boys) and I are not all that different from him and we all picked up on different aspects of his talent.

Unlike most jacks-of-all-trades, my grandfather was a perfectionist and actually quite good at each. I tend to be much the same -- I can not walk into a new house and not be terribly annoyed at how the electrical was run and layed out (I'm sorry, but lights and receptacles just don't belong on the same circuit; do they even know 3&4-way switches exist?), the wavy drywall, and nothing quite square with the world (do carpenters even own squares and levels these days?)! I greatly amused our last realtor with my insistance on inspecting crawlspaces and attics of each house we looked at and considered.

... Now my interest in computers came from elsewhere, but that's a whole 'nother topic!


Phillip Cooper
Corporate Member
For me it was Jr. High School shop class (forget how long ago), we had an instructor that was really something with boards, he made this really cool gun cabinet while teaching us, and seeing something so neat come from a stack of boards was all it took. From then on I had to hone my skills, so eventually I had enough stuff to make something only to hear my mom say...'you're not really expecting to bring that in my house are you?'. After I bought my own place, I decided to really get into it and build my own furniture, and that is where I found out how to do some of the things you need to 'look' good. Now my mom asks for stuff, 'can you make me a....' and I actually get to take it to her house and she's proud of it. Like so many on here, I learn from what others do and show, never think you know it all. Crafting with my own hands and skills make my day, making stuff that others like, stuff you can't buy at Walmart, stuff that'll outlast what you buy at most stores today is why I still do it. Besides, I have to make stuff to justify buying a new tool don't I? :wink_smil


New User
Re: Who are what started your WWing bug

I also started with a cradle. After finishing the project, I had a placque made which said "Babies who have spept here" and had her first girl's name engraved and later did the same for her second girl. She has now stored it till it can be passed down to the girls.

Good idea with the engraved plate. Imagine 50-100 years from now if the tradition is kept up. :eusa_clap


New User
It's amazing how much alike a lot of us are in this respect. I too used to hang out in my dad's shop with him. I remember he had an old wooden workbench that I think was "salvaged" from a cotton mill. On top of that was one of those old wooden, cathedral radios that the dial lit up on. Sawdust everywhere in a little, long, narrow "shop" on the side of the garage. He and my uncle built a boat in there believe it or not. It was a class B racing hull with an old flat head Ford motor in it. They didn't know from transmissions so they fastened a cog wheel to the end of the crankshaft where it came out the back of the engine and fastened that to the prop shaft with what could have been motorcycle chain. Dual exhausts that were plumbing pipe out the back. That sucker was loud and when you cranked it you had to be ready to go because there was NO CLUTCH on that thing. Other things followed as did trips to Sears for power tools, etc. Just wish Craftsman power tools were still today what they were back then. So that's what gave me the bug. It's just taken 50ish years to be able to do something about it.


Corporate Member
[My Daddy is a great inspiration as well. He was what he referred to as, a Jack Of all trades and a master of none. We changed engines in cars, rebuilt cars from wrecks, built rooms on to the house, beds, tables, you name we probably done it. I thought we were doing it for the fun of it, I later found out it was we couldn't afford it any other way. I learned a lot from my ol' man. Now and days my Dad is not doing to well health wise. Money wise he's doing much better. But you know I will always treasure those moments together with my Daddy. 42 years old and my Dad is still my hero.
I love you Daddy!:thumbs_up] Quote from Yanmarman2007
Only I am 49
My father was Jack and spent 50 years as a HVAC contractor.He had a 4 digit license #.I have heard from other contractors that his duct work was like art.Along with cutting timber for building a house and building and repairing boats.Just wish I had another 50 years with him.



New User
After reading all the responses, I had a tear in my eye and had a flood of memories about my Dad. He was an artist and a true craftsman. I can remember well as he trudged up the street where we lived to help a neighbor. He didn't have many tools to depend on and work with except for his own two hands. I suppose that is how the depression era people grew up.

Fast forward to today. I have a shop full of tools. My son once said he needed to spend more time in the shop learning to use them once I was gone to which I replied "I'm not gone yet!". He was planning for his inheritance. Last year, Jan 2010, he and his wife disowned my wife and I after their cowardly verbal telephone attack on my wife. I hope he doesn't still expect to get any tools. Sadly, something changed somewhere. :BangHead:


New User
I'm like a lot of people, my dad is the one who originally sparked my interest in woodworking. He had a small shop in the back and built several things when I was growing up. I can remember watching Norm and This Old House with him on Saturday's and knowing that I wanted to eventually get into that. The funny thing is compared to what he has now he had no tools but still made some cool stuff. Now what got me to actually bite the bullet and start buying tools was when we bought our new house and I had room for them. :) I had seen a guy turning pen's probably 10 years ago at a craft show and thought it was the coolest thing. So my first purchase was a lathe and all the goodies to go along, I in turn got my dad addicted to turning :gar-Bi. Now I am into all kinds of woodworking. I like it all. Now I am exposing my son to it all. He has done a little scrollsaw work and sanded a pen and as he gets older I will continue to expose him to it and get some sawdust in his veins.

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason
Very cool thread. :icon_thum Unlike most of you guys, my Dad doesn't have an ounce of creativity in him. :rotflm: I honestly have no idea where I got what little bit of talent that I have. Granddad was an engineer, Great Granddad was an architect... :eusa_thin I do know that I'm related to a population of mennonites in VA and that supposedly there were some brilliant craftsman among them.

As far as how I got started... I rented a house five years ago that had a detached two car garage. I had always wanted to try my hand at woodworking, but that was the first time that I actually had the space. So I started buying tools and soon started pumping out outdoor furniture and other random things. Since then, I have been limited to a one car garage, a couple of storage rooms and sometimes no shop at all.

Despite those setbacks, I still managed to make some furniture and got the turning bug two years ago. That is perfect woodworking if you are limited on space. :thumbs_up:thumbs_up When we moved into the small apartment that we're in now, I pretty much hit a stalemate. My dream from here on out is to build all of the furniture in our house that we will hopefully have some day. Until then, I'm not wasting the money building things in my tiny shop only to have nowhere to put them upstairs. :rotflm: The good news is that our lease is up in three months and after that we are D O N E with apartment living. So you better believe we'll be looking for a house with a big old shop. :wink_smil I'm looking forward to making some sawdust again, and possibly being able to be in the shop, reach both arms out and not touch the walls. :gar-La;


Senior User
My Dad tore down an old victorian house which he had purchased for one dollar. With hand tools and straightened nails, (WWII) he built our house from those salvaged materials. When I was about 8, he took me to the local cabinet shop where an old black man with three fingers on his right hand was making our cabinets on old flat-belt driven machines run from a jackshaft in the ceiling. Those would replace the temporary countertops covered with linoleum which he first installed. the sound of the saws, and the smell of the sawdust was too much...I was hooked!

At age 23 I owned 16 apartments and had 5 fires in 10 months. In Ga. the mortgage holder could take the insurance money and reduce the mortgage. Mine did and I was left with half the money to fix the damage. That was the day I became a carpenter and contractor. About 5 or 6 years later I owned my own commercial and residential remodeling business. Now I am 4 months away from being fully retired and looking forward to having some fun with my toys!


New User
First, thanks for this thread and all the stories...and bringing back some memories.

Like most, my Dad seemed to start my bug. He was a general contractor for awhile, built the home we grew up in...literally... Hitting my teen years, I spent a lot of time doing go-fer stuff, did a summer pulling concrete, summer doing roofing, summer doing framing. Dad didn't do much past home construction/remodel. Don't really remember much furniture type woodworking. Took shop class in HS, enjoyed it but my social calander was more important in those days. Joined the military, bounced around, then some more...fell away from anything building/craft/construction.

Then one day about 20 yrs ago, I was going by the base 'dump' and saw a bunch of old barracks dresser/carrols...:widea: they were mostly glued up oak panels, not the pressed board kind... so I salvaged a bunch of material.. got a router and circular saw and built my first real project..dart board out of the salvaged parts...hinges and everything. Still have it to this day...not real pretty, but still functions... a great reminder of where I 'started' and especially reminds me to be patient and try to do things right the first time.

Since then have slowly built up a decent collection of tools and techniques. Mostly build ....you know the story.... you're shown a picture and asked "Can you make this?", you look at the price tag and do the mental calculations :eusa_thin (material, time, tools, difficulty)....

Just moved into new home and almost 'done' setting up workshop (aka garage). Yes, I now the rule, no pics it didn't happen.. working on it... Looking forward to next round of "can you".

Great group of folks here. Always learning something new!
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