Ramblings from a South Central Texas Wood Butcher: Kind of the Beginning

Jan. 15, 2015

It’s been another dreary, cold and damp day; just barely into the 40’s. Have felt like “poop” so I didn’t make it out to the “wood shop” today; although yesterday, I did glue the runners onto the bottom of a new miter sled for the table saw. I’m hoping that I’ll have better energy tomorrow, as it’s supposed to be a bit warmer, and sunnier, than today.

The “wood shop” and tools beckon me, but I just wasn’t up to it. I loosely refer to the wood shop as the “wood shop,” when in reality it’s a hangar that I built for the home built airplane that I moved down from the DFW area, in 2006. Unfortunately, medical issues have forced my “retirement” from flying. With that, the old hangar has become the “wood shop,” as well as garage and storage for three truck projects, and two disassembled airplanes. Those are other stories, for (probably) other forums; except maybe the first home built airplane, as it’s basically a Spruce and plywood box, with wood and fabric flying surfaces; hauled through the air, by a ’67 VW Beetle engine.

Although I’ve cut, hammered and/or glued wood since I was young, I didn’t become a serious wood worker until I began the hands on phase of my bachelor degree in Industrial Arts. Graduating in 1983, I spent my first two years as a crafts teacher, although without much focus much on wood working. Two years later, I was transferred to another school, where I taught drafting and wood shop. Been butchering wood, ever since.

In addition to teaching shop, I’ve also done wood on the side, supplementing the regular income. In addition to commission work, I also built wooden vacuum form molds (Dashes and Glove Boxes) for a marine plastics company. That was some interesting work, as I would be provided with cut outs from boat manufactures and had to design dashes and glove boxes to fit.

Basically, I would build a plywood mock up of the boat part provided and then upon it, using bits and pieces of assorted woods, I would shape the design, that had previously been approved, based upon my sketches. Unfortunately this was before the days of digital photography, so no photos have been archived. Never thought to expend some film to look at later.

About the same time that I was building boat molds, I also began producing replacement “Bed Wood” for American Classic Truck Parts. These covered ’20’s through ’70’s Chevy and GMC trucks; and were mostly Yellow Pine, although my son and I would occasionally produce White Oak, and Walnut, bed sets. For several years, son Joe, and I would go to school then come home and cut and route wood, evenings and weekends. Along side the bed wood business, the whole family was involve in making wiring harnesses, also for ’20’s to ’70’s Chevy and GMC trucks.

I don’t like mass production, it’s boring, although efficient. During my middle school shop days, 85 to 87, I designed router cut out reindeer and sleighs, and had to work every evening to meet the orders. Those simple deer and sleigh sure were popular. Setting up a router pattern, for both the reindeer parts and the sleigh, made it easy to turn White Pine into money. Not a lot mind you, but enough to help with the Christmas bills.

Speaking of wood to money, the truck beds and wiring harness business paid for my flying lessons, in the early/mid ’90’s. Was easy to justify that expense, when it wasn’t coming from the house hold budget. So, in closing, if you’re thinking of making some money with wood work, it’s possible. I’ve never made a bunch, but I’ve made some here and there. Wouldn’t mind doing it again, now that I have more time on my hands.

Best to everybody,

Peace
Keith “Shin” Schindler

Keith "Shin" Schindler

636 views

6 0
Share Tweet
Follow

6 Comments

lanwater ...

That’s an impressive “resume” Keith.
Can’t wait to see your projects.

Peepaw ...

Thanks for sharing Keith. I too originally studdied to teach shop but I transfered into the field of engineering. Woodworking has always been my passion, I earned enough to justify buying tools. Now with a shop f i ll of tools and winding down my carreer the lure of sawdust beckons.

Peepaw ...

Thanks for sharing Keith. I too originally studdied to teach shop but I transfered into the field of engineering. Woodworking has always been my passion, I earned enough to justify buying tools. Now with a shop full of tools and winding down my carreer the lure of sawdust beckons.

Thorreain ...

I want to see your projects as you get going. Interesting career. Welcome to a great bunch of people.

Brian ...

It’s interesting how life turns. Thanks for sharing.

Thorreain ...

Thank you very much by the way, for sharing your story.