Thursday, November 25, 2010

Who Am I? Why Am I Here?

I’m Jim Dillon. I work at Fernbank Science Center in
Atlanta as a cabinetmaker. I build and repair exhibits,
cabinetry, and teaching aids there. I teach occasional
woodworking classes at Highland Woodworking. I have also
been a freelance writer, a college English teacher, and a

A list of the trades I’ve worked at doesn’t really add up
to an answer to the question “Who am I?” But perhaps if
you read more of what’s here, and I write it well enough,
you’ll figure me out. For now, let’s assume that since I work
wood, teach people how to work wood, and explain stuff
on a professional level, I’m qualified to write a blog about

Why am I here? More to the point, why am I writing this
blog and why should you read it?

I call this blog “The Thousand-Dollar Shop” because I want
to encourage you to just buy a few basic tools and get
going. If you inventory the stuff you see and hear about
in here, it’ll be obvious that I have more than a thousand
dollars invested in my gear. But it certainly didn’t come in
one lump. I’ve gradually picked up this and that as I needed
it. As of today I’ve been accumulating woodworking tools for
about 25 years, and I won’t try to hide that from you. But
I am absolutely sure that if you can scrounge up a circular
saw, a drill, a few clamps, a pocket hole jig, and some
sandpaper and glue, you can make yourself a perfectly fine

DO IT! If you’ve been thinking it would be cool to make this
or that for yourself, but you’re intimidated by all the gear
you see in those shops on tv, or by all the skills you hear the
preening website experts bragging about, listen to me: you
can make perfectly fine stuff without all that. Try a project
or two, start small, and build from there. It works! It’s what
I did when I graduated from college and wanted a bookcase
and saw I couldn’t afford a good one.

That’s why I’m here: to encourage you to have a try at it.
And to show you how to do it without going into debt. And to
show you how much fun it is.