I guess I can say that I have been interested in design and building since a young child.
Some of my earliest memories include playing with various building toys – Lego’s, Erector sets, Lincoln logs, models, even these things that looked like Qtips with wax on the end instead of cotton (that was a little strange now that I think of it). I remember being a very young child and waiting for my father to get off the night shift as a police officer so I could help him remodel our garage into a living room (I probably wasn’t much help – I was little and probably very tired by the time he got home). I was also very particular when it came to scale – not letting my little brother play with me if I was playing with matchbox cars and he wanted to introduce a vehicle not to matchbox scale. I guess that was my inner engineer coming out early on – I bet I was a fun child 🙂 to have around.
I really wanted to be an architect when I got older. I’m still fascinated by architecture, construction and building – you might find me staring at how a building is built-in the middle of a dinner conversation. I took drafting in high school and designed my first house plans then. It was the mid-80’s so computer drafting was not on the scene yet. (I took computer drafting classes at a vo-tech afterwards but much of my computer design and drafting skills have been self-taught) I use AutoCAD at work but SketchUp Pro exclusively for personal and side work.
After my stint in the military I ended up working in the oil & gas industry in southern Louisiana (where I spend most of my childhood and adult life – yep, Southern Boy). I was a O&G mechanic for a company with a drafting department and was able to convince the Chief Engineer to transfer me over as the Engineering Dept. as a computer draftsman. Ironically they didn’t even have computers in that department for almost a year after the transfer but it gave me a chance to work on the board and develop the artistry I believe is missing in today’s computer drafting. I tutored under a guy who was probably more of an artist than a draftsman and an engineer who thought me a lot about being through (like I needed to be more particular).
I began woodworking in high school, helping my dad with various projects. We were middle class so the high-end tools were out of reach but I’m still amazed at what my dad was able to do with what most consider low-end tools. (that being said, I’ve also managed to bang together some pretty impressive stuff with similar tools). As my skills have developed I’ve learned (the hard way) good tools can definitely help, so I upgrade and add to my “tool box” when I can.
I continually like to learn and press myself to be a better craftsman. There are a lot of great craftsmen (and women) out there in the blogosphere and vidiosphere and I look to them for inspiration often (I’ll give them credit and promote them when I can.) I’ve built, refinished, and remodeled more times than I can remember. Every time someone has told me something like “why didn’t you take pictures along the way”. So here is my feeble attempt… Wish me luck.
btw. I will occasionally upload the SketchUp files for projects that I am working on or might be working on in the future in the SketchUp 3D warehouse. You can get to them by clicking HERE.