I was a serial hobbyist, until I met woodworking.

I’m a creative person at heart. In fact, the whole side of my family is. When I was younger I got hooked on music, guitar specifically, and learned it, played and practiced it 3 hours a day, and even got kicked out of boarding school for playing after curfew one too many times.

When I got older, music was always with me, bands, writing, recording, I did all that, and frankly, I was not really awesome at most of it, but I did it for the sheer love of it.

In college I discovered photography. I studied Ansel Adams, among other things. I bought myself a large format camera, the type that looks like an accordion, and uses 4″x5″ negatives you have to expose, develop and print one by one. I lugged 60 pounds of gear on my back hiking Yosemite. I spent hours in the darkroom printing and creating. Over time digital photography became the norm. I jumped both feet in. Developing the film was too cumbersome, and required a dedicated space, a dark room that took over a whole room to itself. Over time my interest in photography waned. Shooting digital was fine, I could create and modify images on my Mac. I would rarely print them, and I had no control over that process. I bounced back to music and setup a recording studio at home, recorded myself, as well as come friends and symphony orchestras, and mixed them. I worked on a few songs for bands and mixed them. I enjoyed the process. My connection to my art though was purely digital. There was nothing to show. Nothing to touch. To see or hear something you’d have to look at my computer or play an mp3 in your car. It didn’t matter whether my mixing job was great or not, most people can’t tell the difference, and the emotional association to this digital world was dry and often uninspiring to me. The process became more about learning the tools on my screen and how to harness that, and less about creating. I was living my day job, working in software development, at home.

When we moved to GA, we had a basement, and I could have a shop, and I built a bench, got a circular saw, and had a shop. I’d always wanted a shop. family friend had one, and I’d always thought the tools were so cool. Growing up a family friend, who was a cabinet maker, took me to his shop. Old style. Power tools but lots of hand tools. I found it all fascinating but forgot about that experience. I added a table saw, learned how to use it. We moved. My new shop had more space, and I’d learned about the different methods of learning woodworking on line. I took on a first project, a picture frame with mortise and tenon joinery and some rabbets, and learned how to build it. When I was done, I could touch it. I could take it to my wife and kids and show them. It was something I could put in the house and look at it. People who came over could see it without being prompted. It was like magic. I was hooked. I sold all my music equipment, except for my guitars – that’ll never happen, and converted the return into hand tools. Great hand tools, and I started building my first project: The Pekovich toolbox. I didn’t know what I was doing but I was going to learn. I made every mistake under the sun, including buying hard maple for the wood – is there a more painful local wood to work with? But I had fun. Hours in the shop. Hours learning. My family was inspired. My daughter asked for a nightstand, I made one. It’s beautiful! I took pride that she used it. I take pride that it’s still standing and looks amazing. That was the beginning of a journey that allowed me to completely disconnect from the digital world, and step into the past, when people worked with their hands, when people created, it connected me to my family roots in a deeper way, and my family and friend’s reaction to it is palatable… because they too can see it and touch it, and appreciate it for what it is.

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