We asked our audience how they got started in the woodworking industry


As the entry period for the annual Young Wood Professionals competition comes to a close, we wanted to hear from our audience about their early years in the woodworking industry.

So we asked our Facebook followers "How did you get involved in the woodworking industry?'

We got some amazing answers:

"Was serving in Marine Corps and wife wanted table and chairs," said Lance Frye. "I couldn’t afford the real deal and refused to buy her something I couldn’t be proud of. Found wood furniture kits and assembled and finished it for her. Time in Marines ended about same time and seemed like an honest business doing something I enjoyed. Twenty-eight years later has become quite a business. Still loving it. OK maybe not ALL of it, but MOST of it anyways."

"Started in High School 7th grade wood shop Mr. Pierce,1964 and have always and still enjoy wood working," said Richard Malin. "He was a great teacher, tough but fair."
Jeff Armstrong said "Kinda started back in high school. You know when shop class was offered then. Once older I started to play around again to get other stuff off my mind. Pretty much a hobbie. Wish I had the space for more tools. Nothing like seeing a finished product knowing you built it."
"I started as a drywaller, and decided that if I'm gonna spend my life sanding, I at least wanted it to smell good!! So then I started being a wood finisher, and then I decided I wanted to build what I was putting the "finish" layer on!" - Randy Lukefahr-Sizer
"After serving in the military, I wanted to build a home of my own....living simple and seeing third world opened my eyes to simple building," said Jeremy Lewis. "(Think strawbale post and beam). So I started collecting things to build my home....then I ran out of space...so I built a shed to hold the stuff to build the home. That was my aha moment...I like creating with my hands. Went to school and got a degree in carpentry as well as cabinetmaking and architectural woodworking...and after a few years in the craft I've decided I want to build furniture and give it away for free.....so thats the path I'm on at this moment. Www.thewoodveteran.com is my site and says pretty much the same thing. Already given out a few pieces....looking forward to giving more."
"Did small commercial construction for years but always wanted to build furniture. Eventually started making a few things occasionally. My wife encouraged me to open a shop on Etsy. I did that in 2010 and took off big. So with my son as a partner we build and ship custom furniture all over the USA" - The Woodwork Man
Seth Taylor started when he discovered a treasure trove of milled lumber in his garage 17 years ago. "Now I’m a lead woodworker for a local furniture company. And over half the furniture in my house is hand made by me."
"Started hand scraping hardwood flooring in a sweat shop in Kouts, IN 20 years ago," said Bob Jewell. "Ever since then, it's been on. Mostly specialize in hardwood floor restorations now. I do have 800 sq ft. of 7 1/2 inch American Cherry I will hand scrape in the shop (wood on it's way). I will have to post a picture once complete."
Carolyn Zimmerman said "My Father started in woodworking when he returned from WWII...he started his own business making furniture and is now 93 and still works every day... We now have a family furniture business... I have been in the business as a female since 1980... but around it my entire life
Many said they were exposed to woodworking through their high school shop class. Others got involved through a family business.
Wayne McIntosh "couldn't afford it so I built it."
And Richard Satterfield "just got 'board' one day."
Comment below and let us know how you got started in the industry.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].