The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Tiny Furniture


The last few weeks have been something of a brief woodworking/blogging hiatus for me. The week before last was bitterly cold, and the past week I spent taking care of some things around the house as well as making provisions to renew my connection with the Park Service. Fortunately I was able to speak with in person the park ranger who coordinates volunteer projects and he assured me that my services were missed and they would love me to begin working again. Not that I needed any affirmation, the Park Service appreciates volunteers of all skill levels, but it was nice to hear nonetheless.

Otherwise, I do have two woodworking projects ready to go. One is a wall rack for the left side of my workbench. I had mentioned in a previous post that I picked up the wood to make cleats and some small tool mounts a few weeks back. With the temperatures in my garage fluctuating the two boards warped pretty badly. So each day after work I turned them over and they would warp in the other direction. Strangely, after two weeks of doing this the boards are no longer warped, at least not warped badly. I also have the material all prepped and ready to make my “Paul Sellers” box to hold my shoe shining polish and brushes. Ironically I shined two pairs of shoes over the weekend, and considering that I call myself a woodworker yet my shoeshine brushes (some of which I’ve had for more than 20 years) were sitting on a bookshelf in our spare bedroom I was honestly ashamed of the fact that I never made a decent box to store them in.

But the real reason I am writing is because last night I read a post on the Lost Art Press blog. To be honest I’m not really sure where the post was going, but that’s not really my concern, but in it there is a mention of a woman who wanted to make doll furniture when she was younger and never got around to doing it. That struck a chord with me, because many times my daughter has asked me to help her make furniture for her dolls and many times I made excuses why I couldn’t. I feel pretty rotten about that in all honesty. There’s no reason I can’t spend a few hours making a dining room table with some craft boards for my daughter. More importantly, there’s no reason why she can’t help me do it. It’s not as if I’m going to be making tiny joinery. I’m planning on some glue, a little sand paper, and some oil finish.

One of my favorite quotations attributed to Benjamin Franklin is (paraphrased) “What good shall I do today?”. I honestly try to live my life by that motto, whether it’s doing a good job at work, or reading something new, or exercising, or being a better woodworker, (or getting better at World of Tanks). I always thought that ‘being a good father’ is implied in that list, but it really isn’t, and I should always be striving to be a better dad. I was ashamed of myself after reading that paragraph, and I should be. Whatever I may be, I’m not lazy. My daughter deserves better, and if I can’t make a piece of doll furniture with her that would not just make me a piss poor woodworker, it would make me a piss poor father. I’m not going to let that happen.




  1. and I appreciate that you volunteer your valuable time to the park service. It makes our world a better place. Thanks.

    • billlattpa says:

      Thanks Andrew, but it is honestly my pleasure, and I should be the person thanking the Park Service for allowing me to offer my services.

      I went to Catholic school for 12 years, and I always remember the nuns and priests stressing a life “in service”. I never really understood what that meant, even when I was in the military. I didn’t fully grasp the meaning until fairly recently. But I found that what makes me feel good is helping others, and that includes my family, in particular my wife and daughter.

      There’s a thousand quotes and passages concerning making sacrifices and finding the rewards, etc. I believe them, but that all sounds high and mighty. I just feel bad for people who will never know the feeling of doing something only for the sake of helping others, or helping your country, or your neighborhood. It’s a sad life if you’ve never made a sacrifice or you’ve never offered your services to others.


  2. Graham says:

    Build an awesome suite of tiny furniture!

  3. ausworkshop says:

    That reminds me, I still have to fix my daughters doll’s house door. It’s been broken for a couple of years now, I think she gave up asking me so the dolls house sits up out of reach of my son who will probably break it further if he touches it. I might put it on my list to do this afternoon when it’s not so hot and muggy. Now I feel bad for letting it go so long.

    • billlattpa says:

      I’ll tell you, I felt pretty rotten after reading that paragraph. I imagined my daughter as a grown woman thinking back on her childhood and wondering why I wouldn’t help her.

      I had a pretty rough childhood, and I’m doing my best to make sure that my daughter has a great one. I really think this is one of those things that she will look back upon and remember fondly. And I’m hoping that we make a piece of furniture that will last a long time.

  4. Bryan Parker says:

    Well said. I too have some little girls in need of doll sized furniture. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

    • billlattpa says:

      Thanks. I’m thinking of making a picnic table for her Barbie dolls. I think it will be a fun little project and something she will never forget. In fact, she could probably use this project for her woodworking badge in Girl Scouts, which would be a nice little bonus for her.
      Good luck with your project, I’m sure your daughters will greatly appreciate it.

  5. bloksav says:

    Hi Bill

    Making doll house furniture is an incredible noble thing to do.

    I kind of operate with a “children’s requests trumps all” system.
    If I am in the workshop and one of the boys come out here and ask if they can do something I very rarely say no.
    Even during my Titanic chair build, when Asger suddenly said that he wanted to make a small table to accompany the chair as a Christmas present for my wife – I hesitantly put my project aside and helped him do the project.

    It does not help for a fluent project progress, but it helps on the “being a good father” account.

    Like you said, it doesn’t have to incorporate intricate joinery, but some glue, sandpaper and paint will get the project to look like a million.

    Have fun with the project.

    Jonas (who still haven’t started any work this time..)

    • billlattpa says:

      It’s always fun to get the kids involved. I had planned on making the table today but I didn’t realized that my daughter’s Girl Scout troop had an event scheduled. I was still able to get the material ready (I got all of the boring parts out of the way) But I didn’t want to make anything without her because I want her to be there from start to finish and to learn what it is like to make something rather than to just purchase it.

      Are you still at sea? If so, I wish you good luck and fair weather, and of course don’t work so hard!!

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