When you are a kid, you job is to play. I far back as I can remember, I played with Legos. I built anything and everything. I followed the directions that came with the kits, and I just thought of other things (a working crane came to mind) that I thought was cool. As I grew up, I always looked for lumber to pick up and use to make forts, tree houses, and ramps to jump bikes. I sometimes found some with nails, so I reused the nails. Other times, I had to figure how to attach wood together.
My aunt’s husband had me help him to demolish old houses. My grandmother’s husband had me dig ditches for sewer lines, learn a little about electrical circuits, and I worked after my senior year of high school for a HVAC man to learn other skills of the trade before I left for college. My adopted mom’s dad passed away 8 years ago and left me his wood tools. I started learning how to use them, and my skills have increased. I am not professionally educated, but my skills are pretty good, if I can toot my own horn. I have thought about going to take cabinet building courses.
I started making easels and toy boxes for nieces and nephews for Christmas, to keep the tradition of Papa alive. I also build things now for Christmases and birthdays to show my boys, as well as nieces and nephews, that not everything has to be bought. I have built cabinets, countertops, tables, chairs, a learning tower for my sons to be on the same level as I am or my wife in the kitchen or the garage, bed frame, picture frames, and many other things.
My wife will find pictures of items on Pinterest or other sites to have my build in my spare time (laughing). I also find things I want to build. When I have that thing I need to do, I wait until the boys are asleep, and then spend 3-5 hours a night in the garage working until it is completed.
I don’t like spending money on something I can build, or think that I can build. Also, I don’t like spending money if I can keep from it. This is where I save HUGE amounts. In the city that I live, there are numerous houses under construction. I go to some, talk to a foreman to see if I can clean up some of the scrap wood. It will just go in the landfill so they typically will say yes. Now, you may have to pull nails, which I save and reuse in some projects. I will also pick up pallets, which works wonders with the things that don’t require precision or perfect wood planks. Don’t feel bad scavenging for free things. The first time or 2 will make you feel uncomfortable, but soon you will understand that you are recycling, keeping perfectly good material out of the landfill, and you are saving a massive amounts of money. Most of the time, I run the wood through a planer, turning it into furniture grade wood.