View Full Version : Wife in the shop with me

Chris Nolin
08-02-2010, 10:48 AM
I spent all of Saturday afternoon in my shop with my wife, working together on a entry-way table for our house. I have to say (while hoping this doesn't come across as mushy or sappy) that I enjoy working in there with her, sometimes even better than alone.

We've been married for 14 years and sometimes have trouble keeping out of ruts in our relationship. Working on a project like this gets us working together on a short term goal, and lets us share the satisfaction of a job well done at the end of a day. I can't think of a better way to spend precious weekend time.

My wife remains beautiful and adorable to me even while providing outfeed support at the planer, running the miter saw, arranging grain patterns before glue ups, and vacuuming dust off the table saw. She knows her ogee bits from her chamfers. She's more clever than I am, in general, and has come up with some really great ways of doing things I'd never have thought of. And her double-checks have saved me from making numerous mistakes over the years. I'm not saying it's surprising that a woman can do these things (there are skilled women woodworkers on this forum, I know), just that I'm always pleasantly surprised when I see THIS woman doing these things!

Do any of the other married guys out there ever feel this way about their wives in their workshops? I still enjoy alone time in the shop, but it's nice to share with her occasionally. I'm sure woodworking is not first on HER list of how to spend the weekend, but I'm glad she does sometimes. I even keep a few Skinny Dips in the fridge (along with my Fat Tires), so she can drink a beer with me at the end of the day.

Dave Houseal
08-02-2010, 10:59 AM
Love my wife, but I love her even more when she's not in my shop. :p

We don't work well in that way. There are tons of stuff we do well together, but woodworking and/or construction is not one of them, and after many failed attempts, we're both ok with that now.

In addition to her staying out of the shop...I try to keep her away from my tools. I've even given her some old tools. Hey honey, here's a hammer just for you! If you can't find it because you left it lay in the yard, don't touch mine! hahaha

Ruhi Arslan
08-02-2010, 11:21 AM
My wife helps me out as I need and I like the fact that she can and does. She's been asking for some time if I were to ever build a storage shelving in the "pantry" room in the basement (180 ft of usable shelves in a 8'x16' room). This weekend she helped me to rough cut 13 sheets of birch 3/4" plywood. She puts on her worn out work gloves, safety glasses over her glasses and doesn't mind getting blasted with the saw dust.
She is more than welcome anytime into the workshop. There is one rule though; she is not to come in or call me when a machine is running even if the house is on fire.

Cliff Holmes
08-02-2010, 11:22 AM
I treasure those times when my wife and I get to work together. Which is odd, since we're pretty much together 24/7. But between five kids, homeschooling, running a small side business, telecommuting, etc, we really spend much of our day in our separate worlds 30 feet apart.

However, even on those rare occasions we're both in the shop, we're doing separate stuff. She's a lathe person, I'm not. But I just like having her in the same room.

John Morrison60
08-02-2010, 11:24 AM
Is this a gloat or a suck-up? Either way it is OK.

I love bringing things up from the shop to show the wife, and I get her opinion
(and very excellent critical eye) on proportion, color, finish, and esthetics.
But, power tools are my domain.
I Really don't want or need her participation, and, thankfully, she has no interest.

Dave Gaul
08-02-2010, 11:30 AM
I can barely get LOML (fiance') to even come look at stuff I've done in the shop! She loves the results, she just doesn't care how I get there. She does help with design work, such as rough drawing, and wood and color choices...

I imagine she would love turning, and I've mentioned it to her, but until I get a lathe we won't know!

Very nice story Chris, and a little "mushy" goes a long way SWMBO!!

Chris Nolin
08-02-2010, 11:59 AM
Hmmm, I didn't think about this as a gloat, but I do feel lucky. Definitely not sucking up, since she'll never see this. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't breaking any unwritten guy-rules. :)

Rod Sheridan
08-02-2010, 12:24 PM
Diann likes working in the shop and is fully trained on the operation of the drill press, the bandsaw, the sliding saw/shaper and the jointer/planer including tool changes.

We don't normally work together however as both of us like to work alone..........regards, Rod.

Dave Wagner
08-02-2010, 12:32 PM
Whenever I need a hand, she is always there, we work well together..

I always show her my projects, and visa/versa (she does arts/craft/quilting/photgraphy, etc...)

We have known each other for 25+ years, married for 11.

We are restoring our old house, so we must work together on projects, I do most of the renovation/demo and she does the details, paint, wallpaper, etc....she knows how to use some of the tools, but normally asks me, since she knows how much I like to spend time in the garage/shop.

At least I told her that to restore the house, I would need certain tools to duplicate mouldings, trim, etc.., she agreed, so buying them was a no brainer! :)

Lee Schierer
08-02-2010, 12:58 PM
Most women just never got the opportunity while growing up to be around shop equipment when my wife and I were growing up. She helps out in the shop once in a while and has even helped on some projects she suggested. She is deathly afraid of the tables saw but will run the band saw and drill press.

Lee Koepke
08-02-2010, 1:06 PM
My wifey and I are going to do a little booth at a local craft show next month. I "made" her do some of the little craft-type things she's been talking about. Next on my list it to finish carving out a corner of my shop so she can work downstairs with me. I want her to start messing around with finishing / painting so we get to do the same thing you are doing .... spending some time together.

I do enjoy it as well. Not sure about her running power tools just yet though.

Gene Waara
08-02-2010, 1:06 PM
LOML and I work well together, especially on furniture restoration. She loves to strip old paint and varnish, I hate it. She hates to sand prior to staining and I love it. We are pretty much equal when it comes to staining and finishing although she probably has more patience. She has a good eye for design and has made numerous great suggestions as projects have developed. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house she is the spare set of hands that I always need - usually at the worst possible moment - but she is always there. Best part is sharing the pride of a project well done - "We did that"!

Ben Hatcher
08-02-2010, 1:13 PM
My wife helps me out as I need and I like the fact that she can and does...

...She is more than welcome anytime into the workshop. There is one rule though; she is not to come in or call me when a machine is running even if the house is on fire.

I'm with you Ruhi! I love when my significant other works on projects with me, but I hate it when someone "sneaks" up on me while I'm doing something. I tell her to flash the lights before she comes in the shop. I sometimes leave my ear muffs on and don't hear her coming. I can't tell you how many times I've nearly shat my pants when I turned around and she's standing right there.

glenn bradley
08-02-2010, 1:27 PM
Doesn't sound mushy at all. Half the rationalization for buying a scrollsaw is that LOML likes making stuff on it too. Time well spent together is a good thing. Now, I can say that as 99% of my shop time is spent with LOML over doing her own thing at her house ;-)

Paul McGaha
08-02-2010, 1:48 PM

My wife comes out and takes breaks with me, I like having her around. She dosent seem to have any interest in the work though. Her thing is working outside on landscaping and gardening stuff.


Mike Cruz
08-02-2010, 2:08 PM
There are things my wife and I do fantasticly together. Generally speaking, none of those things are in my shop. I love her to death, but it is my ONE spot to have my things my way. The other 21 acres are hers.;)

John Gregory
08-02-2010, 2:10 PM
Woodworking is a hobby my wife and I share with each other. We have been doing this for 7 years now, (been married 21 years) It is great to be able to share this with her. Many other couples are envious that we found a hobby that we both love.

Bill LaPointe
08-02-2010, 2:22 PM
TLOL has no interest in working in the shop. She is very good at showing me what she wants built, picking stain colors and finishes. On the other hand, we have run businesses together for 25 years and in many cases worked side-by-side on a daily basis. It is really great when you can say "we did that" whether in the shop or out of it.

John Piwaron
08-02-2010, 3:43 PM
I get my wife to do a lot of what you say - human outfeed table, critique of a method or planned method, etc.

But unfortunately, that can only go so far. Woodworking is not her thing, she hates the dust (much much less now though) the noise, but even more importantly, has trouble visualizing how a shape will be wrested from a raw hunk of wood, or how the funny 8 sided frame will become the rounded ellipse I'm making.

But, her contributions are important. Every project gets her opinion and advise.

Don Jarvie
08-02-2010, 4:06 PM
My wife is my right hand man when it comes to working around the house. She can paint, cut wood, hammer, etc pretty good. She also likes hanging in the shop and helping out.

I only use her now when I really need her since our 2 1/2 year old daughter takes up most of her time.

Lee Koepke
08-02-2010, 4:08 PM
.......... on the flip side, I do get alot of the :

"why didnt you do THIS"
"cant you make it this way?"
"I cant visualize what you are saying"

... sometimes THAT part is difficult :D

Darci Sowers
08-02-2010, 4:33 PM

As a wife who spends a lot of time with her hubby out in the shop...what a nice post!!

I really like working on projects with my husband, but our two small children (4 years and 19 months) rarely allow BOTH of us that time together. I'm the detail checker, and have saved MANY a piece of wood from getting cut the wrong way. I think it's just one way he shows me that he needs me. After he build the dresser, I designed our first daughter's toybox. Once we finish our current project, we will be building her a "big girl" bed to match both it and the dresser.

Last year I learned up a woodworking hobby before him: pen turning, but now he's blasted past me with his designs, because his flatwork skills are amazing.

And lastly, I'm partially an instigator. I just found a new power tool (bandsaw) for him, and it was picked up yesterday. Now we just need to find a place in the "shop" to put it! :eek:

They say opposites attract, but I've found that having similar interests makes our married life more appealing. (We've been married for 13 years.)


Jason White
08-02-2010, 4:47 PM
Ditto on not wanting my wifey in the shop!;)

Love my wife, but I love her even more when she's not in my shop. :p

We don't work well in that way. There are tons of stuff we do well together, but woodworking and/or construction is not one of them, and after many failed attempts, we're both ok with that now.

In addition to her staying out of the shop...I try to keep her away from my tools. I've even given her some old tools. Hey honey, here's a hammer just for you! If you can't find it because you left it lay in the yard, don't touch mine! hahaha

Chris Tsutsui
08-02-2010, 6:05 PM
When I was married without children then I could pull my wife away from the TV so she could help me with a glue up, stain/paint, or help me out.

But once she became pregnant, she can't lift anything anymore and can't smell fumes so she stays far away from the garage.

Then after my daughter was born, I now get called into the house every 30 minutes to help HER out with babysitting chores like "kill a spider"... etc.

I decided that I need to wait about 10 years when my wife is closer to 40 and we are done having kids and the ones I have can take care of themselves. :D

Tony Perrone
08-02-2010, 9:03 PM
I love having the wife in the shop she usually asks if their is an easier way to do that " my reply is there is a tool just made to do that I'll go buy it " somtimes I even get the ok :). I just hate when she tries to re organize my tools.

Connie Gill
08-03-2010, 12:57 AM
Chris, isn't it a wonderful thing!? My SO and I work together in the shop (actually our basement right now) and we are slowly finishing/remodeling our home. We share so many hobbies and likes that the shop is just an extension of the time we spend together. I can run all of the equipment - prefer to let him because he is more precise than I am and the laser is my area. We build plans together and it is a mutual agreement when we decide to do something. I admire his ability to figure out compound joints, draw up plans from scratch and put it all together while he, in turn, tells everyone that he can't begin to do what I can on the computer and tells me that my "3-D" mind is something he will never have. Enjoy your time together - I think it is precious and rare and show your wife your post...she will be quite touched.

Don Morris
08-03-2010, 9:32 AM
I've posted this before. My LOML is the daughter of a Swedish cabinet maker who as a child literally walked ankle deep through sawdust. She KNOWS wood, not the power tool side of things but appreciates good tools. Bought me a Lie Nielsen hand plane for Christmas one year. A Tormek another year (deal there was also to sharpen kitchen knives). She helps with design as she has a degree in Space Planning and Design. She reads blue prints and knows CMUs so when we renovated our home she made sure the measurements were right on. Several times she noticed a potential error by a sub contractor before they installed something. She helps in the shop if I need help, but loves to see a good wood result. I can't equal her dad's results, but I enjoy trying. We're coming up on 50! And we went to high school together. Our son enjoys helping his dad and would do more but when you own your own business, you don't have the time. When he did work in the shop with me, we discovered two heads are better than one.

Dave Anderson NH
08-03-2010, 10:06 AM
Sue and I will work on many projects in the house and yard together such as tiling, gardening, painting, and the occasional bit of carpentry, but she has no interest in my woodworking except for the results. She does spend time in the bench room of my shop though, but only in the late fall, the winter, and early spring. She likes to be in a comfortable chair by the wood stove either reading or talking with me while I work with hand tools. I think her lack of interest in woodworking and its tools comes from the fact that she is the office manager of a plastic machine shop company and over the years has done almost every job from deburring parts, operating a CNC machinging center, to estimating and quality control.

Phyllis Meyer
08-03-2010, 10:19 AM
are so funny! Chris, your wife should see this, that is awesome that you wrote that about her!

Until we got the laser, I never went into the shop. Ron would come out with end tables, coffee tables and all kinds of cool stuff but I never took the time to go in there and see how he made them. Of course I invaded his shop with the laser and now we fight for "work bench space". We do work well together and I am so proud of the work he creates!


John Mark Lane
08-03-2010, 10:38 AM
Nice thread.

I have always considered "the shop" (or "the garage", depending on which "hobby" is involved) to be my space. Enter on pain of death. It's my alone space, my "man cave". Ha ha.

Since I had children (now 5 and 8), just about everything I ever thought has been turned inside out. When I saw how enthusiastic my children were about making things with wood, and learning to use tools, I changed things. We work together all the time on projects. Usually I do the work and they hang out and chat, and maybe hold a piece here, or pull the trigger on a saw or drill while I hold it, etc. But they love it, and it has given a new dimension to everything.

The shop that I am building now will be for the entire family. The whole point of it is to bring us all together, to do things together -- not watch TV, or play board games, or some other useless activity, but to use tools (and our heads) to make things together. Hopefully the children will learn a lot, and I know my wife is anxious to participate, too.

Of course, if they don't want to, I will have a perfect Man Cave again.


Belinda Williamson
08-03-2010, 11:31 AM
Chris, you should let your wife in on your secret.

My SO and I work together all day, some times seven days a week. We are currently working on a project together, but that is rare. This project has multiple components so we don't have to work on the same piece. We sometimes work side by side. I'm proficient with most equipment in the shop. Still have a slight fear of the table saw. I don't run the CNC enough to be completely comfortable with it, but I can run it.

In his "off" time when he wants to make something for fun I'm not allowed in the shop. I talk too much and spoil the serenity. I also inherited a terrible trait from my father . . . there's my way, and then there's the wrong way. My SO and I can never agree on the "correct" way to do anything so we end up arguing about the project from the planning stage through to completion. Best if he has his hobby and I have mine. That said, I will lend a hand as needed which hopefully won't be for too long because duct tape over the mouth can get very irritating after a while.

Chris Nolin
08-03-2010, 12:17 PM
I did not expect such a nice set of responses! Thank you! I'm really glad to see that a majority of responders feel similarly. I took the suggestion of several and did show my wife this thread. She loved it so much she printed it out for posterity. :) Thanks again!

Rob Cunningham
08-03-2010, 1:13 PM
My wife is always willing to help me out in the shop if needed. She has also helped me with a few built-in installations. I appreciate her help but prefer to work by myself most of the time. The one drawback to her in the shop is that she always wants to "clean some of this stuff" up.

Jim Fay
08-03-2010, 1:26 PM
I feel the same way Chris. My wife helps me out in the shop in so many ways. We have been married 15 years. I am not fond of the "finish" side of our craft and my wife is very good at it. She has great taste and has improved almost every project I make. As you mentioned, she has caught some really stupid errors on my part that has saved me from much frustration. She is always ready to jump in and hold a piece coming off the saw or give me that extra needed hand. There you are another vote for having your wife in the shop.

Cary Falk
08-03-2010, 1:40 PM
Shop time is me time. No wife allowed. It cuts down on the "Why can't I put this sweaty can/bottle of liquid refreshment right here(rust and stain free cast iron surface of equipment x)?" arguments.:eek:If I need help I call my neighbor. Which brings me back to the liquid refreshment on tool argument.:mad: Neighbor is almost trained. That's why I work alone.:D