Your Thoughts on What Is a Woodworker — and Why

Last eZine out, Rob posed the philosophical question of “what is a woodworker.” eZine readers were happy to respond that they think, therefore they are, woodworkers because … – Editor

“I discovered wood in 3rd grade, was a Balsa model airplane kit. By jr. high, was building speakers. Next built garage and my A frame home. Electronics is me: I would never have discovered the joys of woodworking without that 1st model airplane kit. Still building.” – Roger K

“I think today the majority of nonprofessional woodworkers are persons who have a shop, regardless of size, a desire to create, a love of wood and all things natural, have some good ideas of things they want to build and are seeking an outlet for their creative energy. In my case, woodworking is something that I’ve always had an interest in but, for whatever excuse, never pursued it seriously. Now that I have some money to purchase decent equipment, I’m pursuing it aggressively. ‘Cooper, wheelwright, luthier, bodger, woodcarver, patternmaker, carpenter,’ I’m not sure yet what direction to go. Right now I’m just building what challenges me and what I would enjoy to have in my home. I’m guessing that a woodworker is someone who loves and participates in the process and appreciates the material.” – Carlos J. Dominguez

“I am 71 and started making rudimentary wooden things in my youth. Throughout my adult years, woodwork became an enjoyable hobby I learned from books, family and friends. But my true thorough career in woodworking started in April 1999 when I was hired to be the relief man two days a week demonstrating woodturning on an antique spring pole lathe at the Ozark Folk Center state park. Since then, I have demonstrated that foot lathe full-time, added a midi lathe beside it to show modern methods compared to old methods of turning, and made and sold 7,800 spinning tops. Most of my material comes from my other business, an arborist service called Best Tree Service of Mountain View, Arkansas. Since 1992, I have felled approximately 4,100 trees, joined the Tree Care Industry Association and learned to identify 83 species of trees while serving about 600, customers many of whom have been repeat customers. What more could a person ask for than to learn new skills and knowledge that involves the world of wood and make full use of the resources? That is the short story of how I have become a woodworker.” – Sherman C. Anderson

Among the responses was this reminder of another woodworker word that Rob left out of his original list. – Editor

“Don’t forget millwright. Of all of the trades I have worked as and with, this was the most demanding. Being a millwright meant that I worked as a machinist, electrician, carpenter, cabinet maker, mechanic, welder, sheet metal, etc., sometimes all at the same time…” – Ed Sapp

“This is often a discussion heard by many woodworkers around the world. I guess it is difficult to define because there are so many skill levels and various products made from our passion of cutting and creating from nature’s finest product. I have personally been working with wood since the 1950s and have helped my dad and uncle build pirogues (Cajun yachts), soapbox derby cars, furniture, barrel furniture, restored many old wood yachts, renovated houses I have owned, built a new workshop, create sculpted wood boxes and on and on… I guess it is our passion for woodworking over many years and creating something ourselves that makes us a woodworker as opposed to a passing hobby.” – Greg Little

How to Paint Melamine

Also in eZine 296 was a question in the Q&A section about painting melamine. In addition to our experts’ answers, we received these suggestions from eZine readers. – Editor

“I have used spay paint out of a ‘rattle can on it and, after many years of knocking about, it still looks fine. I have painted white melamine surface with black and green paint. It should be treated like a metal surface as it tends to run easy. The surface that I painted was smooth, slick. I have never tried the textured, but I see no reason why not.” – Curt Drahn

“I recently had the same question, but did not have the good sense or patience to ask you guys. I found a product called Stix, Urethane Acrylic Primer manufactured by Insl-x, a subsidiary of Benjamin Moore. This stuff worked incredibly well on the side walls and interiors of my kitchen cabinets, which were melamine-coated. Per the advice of the Ben Moore dealer, I scuff sanded and then coated with a fine sponge roller. I let it dry for about 6 hours. I sanded it with an oscillating pad sander using 150-grit. It sands better and smoother than any primer I have ever used. I mean flat and perfectly smooth. It does not clog the sandpaper either! First, I tinted the primer medium gray (to cover white melamine) because I was painting the cabinets a Foster & Ball antique green (My wife says ITS NOT GREEN!). I sprayed the cabinets using a Wagner HVLP conversion gun, laying down two 5 percent thinned coats. No additional sanding. About three hours between coats. Great finish. I recommend this urethane acrylic primer!” – Rick Ross

Do great eZine reader minds think alike, or what? Here’s how the original questioner solved the problem. – Editor

“I investigated other sources and came up with the ideal solution, which I thought I would pass along to you. I visited a local paint and wallpaper supply store, and they suggested a primer made specifically for glossy surfaces. It is called STIX and is designed to bond to glass, melamine, metal, etc. It is an interior/exterior urethane-acrylic product made by a subsidiary of Benjamin Moore No special prep is needed other than the surface must be dry and clean. It costs about $13 a quart or $40 a gallon. It dries quickly. I applied the latex finish coat over it, and it bonded like iron.” – Peter Curley

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