Growing up, I wasn't the type to join my Dad in the garage too much, although I observed him all my life fixing, creating and restoring things while teaching himself how to do it. As an adult, I've grown into a crafty person. Teaching preschool and being a nanny has really drawn that out of me. A few weeks ago, Dad and I decided to spend the weekend making a desk together. I stepped out of my comfort zone by using power tools, a blow torch, and a sad attempt at welding.
Friday night we arrived at his shop late at night, so it was straight to bed so we could get to work in the morning. While we were sleeping, the sky parted and it rained. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal... except when the wood that was supposed to be used for a project was still in the truck bed, soaked with rain water. Instead of giving up, Dad and I put our brains, creativity and resourcefulness together and ended up creating a better desk than could have been made originally.
Next to the shop, there is a 100 year old shed where my Dad's scrap wood is kept. We went in and I followed his lead in picking out wood that we would then cut into strips to create a pattern. And then another problem arose.. We ran out of the wood we were using, so we had to add one thicker strip to the front and back of the desk top. Because the second type of wood was so much lighter, we decided to take a blow torch to it and thankfully it created a beautiful look that plays on the light and dark contrast where the wood was burned. I had a lot of fun playing with a blow torch. I also attempted welding for the first and probably last time. Not being able to see where I was welding made me feel immense pride seeing the ease in the way my Dad welds.
Throughout the day, I couldn't help but to reflect on the history of women in metal working.Many of my Dad's tools are vintage and it brought me back to what women were pushed into learning to use on a professional level quickly during WWII. While war was devastating on almost every level, it opened the door to women working in positions other than teachers or secretaries and paved the way for every single woman I know. So even though I have been hesitant to use power tools, I couldn't resist vintage ones and that opened me up to trying out many different types of tools.
The weekend reminded me that I need to step out of my comfort zone and jump into my Dad's world for a bit. He is incredibly talented and creative, and am so proud of the desk we made together. It is everything I wanted. Even though it was completely made out of scraps, those scraps are now being used every day instead of lying down in an old shed and THAT is what makes it so much more beautiful. We named the desk Scrappy, the Junkyard Dog, as a term of endearment. There is always something special about bringing something gorgeous and functional out of something that was pushed to the side.
It is now in my bedroom next to the bookshelf my Dad built me a couple of years back for my birthday. I use my new desk to make lesson plans, do my own arts and crafts, and work for Ramsey Customs. I hope this inspires you to make something with someone you love. Paint a picture with your or build a bird house with your small child. Download one of our files on our site and create it in collaboration with family or a friend. Family is everything, and creating something with family is a wonderful way to bond.
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& Gary Ramsey's daughter