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171490 "Milliken, Gordon Spencer \(Gordon\)" <gsm2@a...> 2007‑07‑09 Gordon Milliken BIO - a little long....
Gentle Galoots,

OK, well, I've been Lurking for about 1/2 year now, and thought it was
time to post a Bio. Sorry, it's a little long.

Short story - I've gone from a completely sane, non-woodworking, non-
hand tool kind of guy to a totally drooling Galoot through a series of
small steps down the slippery slope - - finally pushed over the edge by
this wonderful and interesting community.

I'm 49 and work for what used to be a massive telcom SW company, that is
no longer so massive... I think it is fascinating how many Galoots work
in SW or related businesses. Perhaps there should be some social
research done....

I grew up in a tool-less household - no power or hand tools to speak of.

Just out of High School, I got involved in bicycle racing/mechanics and
first became interested in things mechanical, and "sophisticated" (frame
building/brazing, wheel building, and discovering the difference between
new, cheap technology and old, elegant craftsmanship) - - so the first
smallest step down what has become a horribly deep and slippery slope.
Married SWMBO in 1981, and bought my first house in 1985 and shortly
thereafter bought my first p*w*r tool (compound miter saw). At that
time, I thought woodworking meant carpentry and learned about molding
and flooring (also pouring cement, wallpapering, and painting - kind of
initiation rites in household ownership). 3 children, but so far, only
one I can definitely see the GIT gleam in the eye. From the 70's through
1990, I lived on the east coast (NJ) where, at the time, I didn't even
know what a hand plane was, but there were lots of vintage cars around.
I got interested in old English sports cars and eventually had a "fleet"
of 1 driver and 4 parts car 1968 Triumph TR250's (Another, bigger step
down the slippery slope) - today, after 5 house moves (now living in a
Chicago western suburb) I'm down to 1 Triumph TR6, but have repaired or
replaced every component on the car save engine and differential.

In 1995 I moved to the Chicago area, which, coincidentally turns out to
be about 20 miles away from my brother, who, unlike me, chose
woodworking instead of old cars as an interest. (he also works in the SW
development industry - hmmm). He's built (mostly shaker design), a
number of tables, 3 beds, and lots of book cases. I started out in
woodworking by helping him - he's kind of a minimalist so really didn't
want to spend too much money on equipment - he's got a table saw and
drill press, and that's about it - he did a lot of his joinery with
chisels and dimensioning with - - hey what's this contraption! - - hand
planes, which I found fascinating (uh oh, another step). As time went
along, he became less interested in woodworking (got into restoring old
tube ham radios - another story for another day) so over the last 2
years, I have started into woodworking myself. I started out with a
contractor's t*bl* saw - 1955 craftsman, and a drill press (like
brother, like brother..) and built a Douglas fir workbench - leg vise,
loose plywood top with M-T joinery, then a custom table for the table
saw. Since then, I got a number of small p*w*r tools, and would have
never given hand tools another thought, except that I ran into the same
problem as my brother - needed to dimension lumber, and couldn't
(wouldn't) afford the big p*w*r tools like jointer and planer - - so
turned to his solution and 1st bought a Stanley 8 off of the bay. My
immediate reaction in using it was that it was hard to cut without
digging in either the outer or inner edge, that I couldn't easily get a
cut all the way across, pretty bad tearout, so, being somewhat
obsessive, I turned to the web to figure out how to use and adjust -
found a bunch of good stuff - hock blades, scary sharp, etc. Soon after,
I decided I needed a #4 too, then a block plane. I did all of my
coll...er, uhm, tool set assembling from *bay, and realized I didn't
really know what I was looking at. Somehow, I discovered Patrick Leach's
Blood and Gore - wow!, then MWTCA, then whole bunches of sites from
folks selling hand tools. About this time I bought Garrett Hacks
"Handplane" book - - oh, the slope is growing ever steeper... meanwhile,
I built some book cases, a closet organizer, a kind of neat coffee table
(curved and tapered legs, joined with wedged through M-T). It was just
about this point that I happened across the electric Neanderthal, and
referenced to the old tool list. Well, I subscribed in December, and
don't think I've missed a digest since. I am now in full fledged free
fall down the hand tool slope!!

Of course, now I've got some socket chisels, a bit brace, a shoulder
plane (Veritas Large - - based on feedback from the list - -and oh, what
a great shoulder plane it is too! - I've used it on so many truing and
trimming jobs since); a 289 rabbet, a 140 skew block, a 20 circular, a
jack (for upcoming shooting board I plan to build), M-F 67 Router, and
latest is a 46 skew dado ( a result of needing to add some 1/4 inch
dados after having glued up a carcass, so no room for either tailed
router, or T-S dado (I suppose I could have used the M-F 67, but the 46
is so much more versatile ;-) I've just completed a wall mounted tool
cabinet (patterned after the Jan Zoltowski one in FWW) so now have a
safe place to keep my tools as I was getting to the point of having a

 Now that I've got a pretty good base set of tools, and a place to store
 them, I'm going to be putting all of my energy into making a frame and
 panel bed for my youngest son's wedding present (most GIT-like of the
 lot) and am planning a trestle table for my older son.

I can't thank this fine group of souls enough for providing a forum
for such fascinating discussion, and feeding my obsession - - I have
only one request - please, please, stop submitting e-mail on wood
turning - chisel handles, square bowls, etc, etc - - I know a "pile-o-
saws" is next, and I just plain can't afford to add all the tools that
go along with wood turning too - - I can only push the envelope with
SWMBO so far!

Hopelessly Hooked

Gordon Milliken Diligently destroying perfectly good wood in Chicago


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