I've loved working with wood as long as I can remember. When I was young my dad always had a workshop. In our houses with basements that's where it was located. When we lived in Houston, Texas for a few years he had a small shop added to the garage and his shop in Granada Hills, California took over the entire garage. There was no space for an addition there and no basement. While my dad was mostly a physicist and worked with metal he did some woodworking as well. He taught me to use the table saw, over arm saw, drill press, lathe and some other tools. I learned a lot from him.
Like almost all boys growing up in the 50s and 60s I took shop classes in junior high school (now they are called middle schools and tragically the shop classes are gone). Those classes were a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I still have some of the projects I made in my metalshop and woodshop classes. Photos of two of them are in my Projects section of the website. In high school I wasn't able to take any shop classes but I did continue to make things out of wood. I still have a couple sets of bookshelves that I made from real mahogany during those years. I have a photo of one in my Projects section on this website.
After I got married and we could afford to buy our first California home, like my dad, I took over the garage for a workshop. It worked out great. In those days, however, money, especially for luxuries like tools and wood, was extremely tight. School teachers who are starting out don't make much money. I did manage to save enough for a Craftsman contractor style table saw, a portable drill, circular saw and a few other tools. Most of them were among the cheapest available at the home center of the time, Builder's Emporium. When Pam's Great Uncle Dan passed I inherited his small Craftsman bandsaw, a grinder and a Shopsmith because the family knew I'd use them. Since I was teaching full time and deeply involved in a church choir my woodworking time was limited.
Between my workshop and my dad's I did manage to make some furniture for our home as well as other projects. For some reason I became known as a mantle maker and built several for family and friends. At the time Pam and I were into what they called "Early American" style of furniture that was popular in the 60s and 70s. I built a coffee table and end tables for our first apartment living room in that style out of solid ash using my Dad's workshop. Due to the style I turned a lot of spindles on the Shop Smith. After we moved into our first home and I had the table saw I made a trestle table out of solid ash for our dining room. I had to make the top over at my dad's shop because I didn't have any clamps.
I had been reading Fine Woodworking magazine since the very first issue came out in 1975. The true early American styles of furniture and other styles featured in the magazine really fascinated me. Pam and I even toured Williamsburg, Virginia partly so that I could see the beautiful furniture and visit the cabinet maker's shop. Articles such as Queen Ann Styling in the Summer 1976 issue and Cabriole legs in the Summer 1977 issue provided some design inspiration and an article on doweling by James Krenov in the Summer 1977 issue showed me how I could put pieces of wood together. As a result I built a hall tree for the entry of our home. It was built with Cabriole legs with spoon feet for the front legs and I carved a fan shape in the drawer. Since my joinery skills were limited I used dowels for all my joints using a Craftsman doweling jig from Sears and dowel points. Photos of that hall tree are in my Projects section of the website on the Furniture page.
When we bought our second home in Simi Valley, California Pam made it clear that both cars would be parked in the garage. She didn't want them parked on the driveway all the time anymore. The garage in that home did have a small side section where I could put a workbench and some tools but my larger woodworking tools were relegated to the back of the garage up against the wall under some hanging cabinets that were there when we bought the house and pulled out only when I was working on a project. I found this arrangement very cumbersome and turned to other activities to take up my leisure time. I did still manage to turn out some projects while we lived there but most were more utilitarian than fine woodworking. The closest I came to fine woodworking was another mantle project for that home which is shown on the Home Improvement page.
When I neared retirement I told Pam that I needed to get back into woodworking and to do so our next home had to have a dedicated workshop space. She agreed and allowed me to start purchasing new tools starting with a SawStop to replace my 1970s Craftsman table saw. Pam knew how dangerous and difficult that saw was because she had helped me make cuts on it over the years. In addition I started adding other machines to my arsenal of tools. They included an 8" Grizzly jointer, bench top Delta drill press and a Steel City bench top mortiser prior to our move. Yes, the vehicles except for our customized PT Cruiser ended up out on the driveway. Fortunately Pam was very supportive of my tool acquisition and moving her car out of the garage.
With these acquisitions I started pursuing more woodworking projects again even before we retired and moved. I made a few trophies for the basset hound clubs we belong to and a few other things but nothing substancial. I did take a class in woodworking through a Woodcraft and built a Shaker side table shown on the Furniture page.
As we approached retirement we found a home on over an acre of property in Fallbrook, California. This is a beautiful semirural area in Northern San Diego County. The home had neither a workshop nor garage. With Pam's full support I started designing a workshop/garage building to go on a level area between the house and driveway using some software on my computer. The spot was obviously planned for such a building by the previous owner. My video on the shop's construction tells the rest of the story much better than I can here. I was finally going to have my dream woodworking shop.
When I was setting up my shop I decided that my new venture needed a name. Since I was a kid my dad always named his hobby ventures WB because they were his last two initials as well as those of my brother and I as well as my dad's father and grandfather. When I was very young my dad smoked a pipe and made custom pipes. He had the WP Custom Pipes company. At one time we even had a HO railroad layout featuring the WB railroad company. I can still remember the little engine with WB on the side going down the track. Somehow, by sheer coincidence, when Pam and I were thinking of a kennel name for our basset hounds we came up with Woebgon Bassets which went along with the WB theme from my childhood. So, in keeping with that tradition WB Fine Woodworking was born.
In order to tie the name into our bassets which are very familiar to all who know us I decided to use the silhouette of our Joy as part of the logo. I used a circular saw blade because most of my work includes working on my table saw. The words, "Fine Woodworking" were printed in an Arts and Crafts style font because that's my favorite furniture and architectural style.
Where things go from here is totally unknown. As I've mentioned elsewhere getting my workshop organized is my current priority. I'm tired of the mess and searching for tools that should be readily available. I'm also adding some finishing touches to the shop/garage that I never had time to do before and my health has improved. Now that I no longer have a low limit on my Internet data from my Internet provider, a common curse for those of us who live in rural areas, I've been able to view numerous videos and photos from woodworkers including their workshops on YouTube and the Fine Woodworking magazine website. I've also recently discovered Instagram and the vast woodworking community that posts there. Those combined with Facebook and the woodworking forums that I've been visiting for many years plus numerous woodworking magazines and books have now all given me the ideas and inspiration to get going on the shop clean up/renovation and start building things. Thank you all for your inspiration and ideas.
Since you have found this website you may already be familiar with my social media accounts. Just in case you aren't I've included links to them below. I'm especially proud of my YouTube channel. It's a great way to share my ideas and techniques as well as the projects I make with others. I spent over 36 years teaching in a classroom so teaching and inspiring others comes naturally. If you're interested please subscribe to my YouTube channel. The number of subscribers that a channel has as well as viewed minutes are used by YouTube for their rankings. Also follow me on Facebook and Instagram. The more followers and views I have the better my rankings will be on them.
My hope is that others will be somehow inspired by what I do and that I can be helpful to others. Pam and I spent most of our adult lives teaching. I don't plan to stop now. Thank you for your support.