The Daughter of a Woodworker – My First Woodworking Experience

Written By: Bonnie Bartay

Some of my favorite memories as a young kid are spending time with my dad in his workshop. From a very young age, I remember playing in his shop while he worked. As an adult, I have helped my father with his construction business and now with Chris Mobley Designs. I do all of the paperwork part and even draw out plans but he does the real magic. I have never actually done any sort of woodworking myself though. After Chris wrote the article about Intarsia and Segmentation Woodworking for Beginners, I decided that I would like to give it a try. I could never hope to be half as good as my father is at this art, but it looks fun.

I took my time and did my research, but I went against my father’s advice, and made my own pattern for my first project. Of course, he was there to help me out, so I felt confident that if I got in over my head he would be there.

There are a few things that I learned from this project.

1) Woodworking is not as easy as my father makes it look. He makes cuts with the saw so effortlessly. This is not the case for me.

2) The scroll saw is not scary. Once I realized the mechanics of it and realized that it was unlikely that I would get hurt, I was much more at ease.

3) I must relax a bit more. The whole time I was cutting out the design, I was so tense that my shoulders are sore. Guiding the wood with your fingertips instead of your whole hand on the scroll saw helps with relaxing.

4) I absolutely love the smell of cedar wood when it is being cut. I have always been a big fan of cedar. In fact, I think it is my favorite wood. I like the look and the smell, but when it is being cut, it is just that much better.

5) Even though the design I picked out is fairly simplistic, a beginner’s pattern should be used for your first project.

It is not completely finished yet, but I have really enjoyed working on this project. I have learned a lot and I have spent some great time with my father. I do not think this will be my last woodworking project, but I think that I need to stick with the business aspect of Chris Mobley Designs and leave the real work up to my father.

We are proud to announce that our Etsy shop is up and running. This allows us to accept major credit cards and etsy gift certificates. Please visit our newly updated “Intarsia Shop” tab on our homepage to view our updated inventory and purchase items.

We also have a contest drawing going on through Facebook. To enter into the drawing for this Rose intarsia piece you can

The Rose

1) Subscribe to our Blog at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Share our Facebook page with your friends

Your name can be in the drawing multiple times. We will hold the drawing as soon as we hit 200 Likes on our Facebook page.

Good Luck!

Tools of the Trade – The Evolution of My Woodworking Tools

Every wood worker has to start somewhere. My somewhere began with the purchase of a Shop Smith and this began the evolution of my woodworking tools. My mother and father had a friend that was selling their Shop Smith multi tool system back in the mid 1990’s and I was lucky enough to purchase it. This Shop Smith is perfect for doing small projects but not big construction jobs like I was used to. I decided that buying this system gave me a reason to put my creativeness to work and begin doing some actual wood working. This system came with a band saw attachment and is a table saw, lathe, drill press, and has a sanding disc all in one unit. This has turned out to be a great piece of equipment that I still own and still use from time to time. Now granted, the shaft between the tools motor and the band saw attachment is currently duct taped together; I still cannot bring myself to get rid of it. It has some sentimental value to it and I have created a lot of projects with this piece of equipment.

There was a stretch in my life where woodworking was put on the back burner. With running a business full-time and raising two kids, I spent more time at football and cheerleading practice than in the workshop. The Shop Smith always did fine for those occasional projects. Now my children are grown and having children of their own, so woodworking has taken a forefront once again.

A few years back, my mother had a good friend whose husband unfortunately passed away. He had a wonderful workshop filled with some remarkable tools and equipment that she wanted to part with. Again, I was fortunate enough to purchase some of his things and I have put them all to very good use. Among the items that I purchased were a Delta table saw, drill press, wood lathe, joiner/plainer, dust collection system, a router table and various boxes of small hand tools and jigs. This allowed me to completely redo my workshop with all new equipment. This has worked out perfectly now that I am doing woodworking a lot more now.

I acquired my band saw from my brother-in-law. He never used his and gave it to me one day while consolidating his work space. As a way of saying thank you to him, I made him a piece with it. The piece is titles Fish out of Water and I chose this one for him since he loves to fish.

For a very long time, I have wanted a scroll saw, but I have never justified getting one. I am doing more and more intricate work, and finally decided that it was time to get one. After looking on-line, searching for deals, and reading reviews, I decided to go with the Dewalt variable speed 20” scroll saw. This tool was priced a little above my price range, but decided to purchase it anyways. I am so glad that I did. The unit came in on Wednesday of this week and I hurried home with it to use it right away. I believe this tool has taken my woodworking to a whole new level. In fact, I cannot believe that I ever operated before without one. I am currently working on a Clydesdale Horse project that has very small pieces. I now cannot imagine doing these without a scroll saw. I will continue to use my band saw for larger pieces but the scroll saw will be used for the more intricate detailing. This tool was everything that I was expecting and more.

My next tool that I have my eye on is a belt/drum sander combo. I have not seen this tool a lot, but the combination of the two types of sanding capabilities in one tool would defiantly increase productivity in my workshop and make shaping the intarsia pieces even better. Currently right now, I use a sanding wheel to shape the edges and a drum sander on a Drimmel tool for shaping. Hopefully this new tool is in my near future.

Please leave me comments on my blog with project ideas of what projects you would like to see and what types of articles would interest you.

— Chris Mobley –