Feb 032020
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I have been in the woodworking “business” since I was born. My parents, Chris and Sharon Bagby, had already owned Highland Hardware (now of course known as Highland Woodworking) for 8 years. My mom began bringing me into work shortly after I was born (and did the same with my sister Kelley 10 years prior). Both of us were exposed to woodworking at a very early age having grown up in the store.

Sharon Bagby with daughter Kelley in 1976, shortly after Kelley was born

This month’s poll asks “How did YOU first learn about woodworking?” Did you go into your parent or grandparent’s shop at a young age and watch what they were making? Did you make your own projects in scouts? Did you take shop class in school? Did you just recently retire and want to learn something new in your spare time? Or is it your career? Answer below, and please be sure to add your own answer in the comments if yours is not listed!

Molly Bagby is an employee at Highland Woodworking. She grew up at Highland Woodworking from a mere 1 week old and now does a variety of jobs to help keep her parents’ business running. You can follow her on Instagram @HighlandWoodwoman.

  10 Responses to “February Poll: How Did You First Learn About Woodworking?”

  1. A friend of the family had a cabinet shop. At about age 10 he hired me just to clean up. The work fascinated me and I spent all the spare time there just learning every thing I could.

  2. Bought a few lithographs many years ago. Learned that the cost of framing was greater than the artwork. So I bought a miter box and a framing book and made my own frames That was the beginning of the end

  3. Our shop class had very few tools and access to benches, I was usually last to try to get time to work on a project and I didn’t get good grades in shop. So, it has been a lifelong dream that now I am meeting in retirement to learn the skills and build some furniture for our home. Just working on the skills now.

  4. I have been to Highland Woodworking only once as it is located in Atlanta & I live in Huntsville, Al. I have not done any wood working since July 2017 when I walked downstairs to my shop & thought: I can’t do this anymore! 🙁 In short order, I was diagnosed w/ Alzheimer’s Disease. It was not a surprise as my father died from the disease in 2005. I understand some people live for 10 years w/ the disease. I realize I can’t judge myself, but I feel like I am on the mend! We will see; it would be a 1st as no one has ever recovered. Finally, I am thinking of getting back into woodworking. I used principally hand tool; not as dangerous. Steve

  5. I was a young child when I first started making things out of wood. I spotted a hand saw in the basement and just began. I had no help; as a girl I couldn’t take shop and my father didn’t have any woodworking skills. every chance I got, I made things out of wood and kept learning wherever and whenever I could. Now 60-some years later I am a confident and skilled woodworker

  6. I grew up in a small Eastern Iowa town called Anamosa. As kids, we were always making things out of wood to play with, but my big jump came when I took shop class as a freshmen in high school. I learned how to do mechanical drawing and convert that into a real project. I never got into the business of wood working but always used it as therapy and as an avenue to build my electronics business by building my stores myself (5). Now in retirement I am creating a house full of furniture based on some of the designs from Thomas Moser who is a folk hero of mine.

  7. I retired from my profession in 1984 and wanted something to keep me busy. In Spring, Summer and early Fall, I garden mainly during the days and then work with wood in the evenings. During the late Fall, Winter and early Spring, I work with wood. I started off with a Delta table saw and some second hand tools. I gradually obtained a band saw, radial arm saw, chop saw, router, upright drill , sanderS and several other electrical hand tools. My very first project was to duplicate my wife’s 1850 era blanket chest made by a great grandfather before entering the Civil War.

    Initially we had six grandchildren for whom I made a woodworking item for them at or soon after the birth, e.g., an airplane on which one of my grandsons could sit on while eating his lunch while watching TV, the above mentioned blanket chest was made for one of my granddaughters. I am presently engaged in making a toy chest/gentleman’s chest for our newest grandson.

    It is interesting to note that the latter chest is being assembled with glue, biscuits and dowels only. The only metal in it will be the hinges and screw to hold the hinges in place!

  8. My first exposure to woodworking was from finding my brother’s stash of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science in the 70’s.I dreamt of building and repairing everything in the house. (I am still waiting for my jet pack!) High School woodshop was next and finally the Chicago Park District wood shops in the parks. Beyond that I am self taught,

  9. Around the time of the gas shortage (1970’s) my employer lost a large client and I was layed off. In between looking for work I found some scraps and built a wheelbarrow. (It was a terrible wheelbarrow) I enjoyed the project and asked a local cabinet maker how I could learn woodworking. To my amazement, he offered me a job. Note: I wasn’t asking him for a job, just how to learn about wood. We build from scratch and installed many kitchen cabinet sets over four years. I later found an acquaintance looking for help building harps (yes the musical instrument) I learned that musical instruments are quite different from cabinets, but luckily required skills that I had developed. After three years my “boss” had to quit in order to better feed his family leaving me to buy him out and continue on my own. Many business mistakes later I am still here, although semi-retired.

  10. I started out as a carpenter. I did finishing work (hung doors, laid baseboards, etc) the last 5 years of my working life. So, getting into woodworking wasn’t a big leap.
    Learning new skills and tools has always been fun. Even though I’ve been retired and into woodworking for 10 years, I learn something new every day. Now and again I take on projects for customers (mostly chests,) but the shop is where I go to tinker and see what I can come up with. I have shelves full of small boxes I give away & even kept a blanket chest for myself.

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