How I Became a WoodHead

I am not exactly sure of the date,I think it was the late 1970s but it could have been the early 1980s, ‘This Old House’ was brand new and I don’t think ‘The new Yankee Workshop’ had started yet. At that time Fine Wood Working magazine, in every issue ran an article on how to build a machine out of common hardware store items. I remember building an over head drum sander to make Guitar tops from one of those articles. I’ve always wondered if they stopped doing that due to advertisers pressure or liability issues. I really looked forward to those articles. During that time frame I made a number of guitars, banjos and other stringed instruments. I was also doing instrument repairs for several music stores. That was before digital cameras and I only have a few pictures from those days.

Abalone inlayed guitar

Rosewood back

12 string

I had a friend that professed to be a wood worker, how ever his real hobby was working on his shop, not working in his shop. He would buy old machines and tear them down, every nut and bolt, clean, repair and reassemble, and he had multiples of many. It was a beautiful shop, but I didn’t see him make any thing for years. I think he eventually started to make some mission pieces, but it was really hard for him to see his  machines full of saw dust. Anyway one day he called me and said there was some kind of a big woodworking / home show in down town Chicago at McCormick Place and did my wife and I want to go with him and his wife. I said yes and we made arrangements for the following Saturday. Saturday came and I picked them up and drove to the show. Now McCormick Place is a really big place, it’s so big that the workers drive around inside in pickup trucks. We wound up parking so far away that we needed to take a shuttle buss to the door and we really did need the bus, we weren’t being lazy. So now we are sitting on the bus waiting for it to fill up and leave, when this couple climb the steps into the bus the woman  takes one look in the bus and says ” look at all those wood heads” my wife has been calling me wood head ever since. I’ve thought of having t- shirts made but never gotten around to it.

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