As I hit my mid-fifties, I found myself wanting to change a few things in my life. My daughters were through college and my work was slowing down, giving me more time to think and more time to experiment a little. My creative endeavors were ethereal and I found myself wanting to make things, physical things. I play music. I write poetry. I cook. Those are all beautiful and fun but also temporary and in the now. I found myself buying wood working magazines and the like but I didn’t really know how to get started. I played around with knitting and sewing a bit but neither was hitting the right notes somehow.
About a year ago I started dating a man who makes these incredible beautiful and fully functional fly tying vises. He also fixes things around the house and never buys something if he can build it. I mentioned wanting to learn how to use tools and build things and he said he’d teach me some things. I’d never used power tools before and one day he set about showing me how to use his band saw and sanders.
My first project was a grate scraper, a chunk of wood to clean off my barbecue grates. I’d read about making on one The Art of Doing Stuff. He had some wood slats from an old wine barrel that had a nice curve on them. I cut the shape out and sanded it down. And sanded some more. And some more. Every time I thought it was done, it seemed to need a bit more. But it was fun! I drilled a hole in it when it was done and we tied a leather thong to it so I could hang it on the grill.
Then he burned a music clef on it for decoration.
That simple tool got me hooked on building stuff. (And I’m still using it to clean off my barbecue!)
What I Would Do Differently Next Time
I’d probably make it a bit longer. You can burn the hair off your arms trying to reach the back of the grill!
I might make it a big wider. I was repurposing a piece of wood so didn’t have an option.