We’ve got a four-day sale starting today, where you can take 10% off JET Woodworking Machinery & Accessories! (Shop here: http://bit.ly/2t1Vxoo)
But I wanted to do something a little different than writing an entire blog post dedicated to the sale…I wanted to feature a member of our woodworking community on Instagram.
I run the social media efforts here at International Tool, and I really enjoy getting to know our followers and looking at photos of their projects.
For this Q&A, I picked Jeff Himstedt of J. Him Woodworking in Peoria, IL.
I want to give a huge thank you and shoutout to Jeff for taking the time to answer a few questions and for sharing his woodworking story with us!
1. Tell us about your woodworking journey…how and when did you start?
I started woodworking around 2010. Before that I was a carpenter, mainly doing remodels and new construction.
After working inside of homes and out in the elements for several years, the idea of building something out of my shop and selling it intrigued me. I wanted to be more in control of my time, rather than having to depend on the weather and the customers’ schedules. And I found working alone at my own pace to be therapeutic.
My first piece was a shelf for my wife. I bought the cheapest lumber I could find and a gallon of paint and went to town. Ironically, that is the first and last piece I have built for our home!
It’s kind of funny that a woodworker doesn’t have any of his own work in his home, but like I tell her, “I would rather be so busy with orders than have extra time to build for us!!” (She doesn’t take that excuse as well as I do!!)
2. What’s your favorite piece/project you created and what’s the story behind it?
My favorite piece by far is what I call the “Evan bed.”
A local family contacted me several years ago, needing a bed for their special needs child. They sent me a few ideas they found online but they were all pretty rough, made up of 2×4’s and gate hardware.
So now me being me, “Mr. Over-build,” I have the image of this boy in my head, and I told them that idea isn’t good enough, that I can do better than that.
I ended up building a full-size bed with a railing that went around the perimeter, with a small section that would swing down allowing Evan’s mom to get him in and out of bed easier.
Below the bed I added two drawers to hold medical gear, and I added a few shelves to the foot of the bed.
Honestly, I had no idea how important this build was to them until it was done. The family posted photos of it in several groups online and my Facebook page BLEW UP overnight. I was getting questions from all over the country about this bed and it was such a humbling feeling that my craft was so useful to so many!
3. WhAT do you love about Jet machinery?
Honestly, I fell into JET machinery.
Like most start out, I had small underpowered tools.
An older JET cabinet saw popped up on a local sale site for a great price, so I went for it. That was my first real woodworking machine.
Later that year I found a guy that was selling all of his tools. (See below for the tools I was after.)
I ended up buying all of them for a great price and my shop was coming around.
Soon thereafter I bought a 15” planer with a mini dust collector, and that completed my JET collection. My local lumber supply deals all JET tools, so maintenance is super easy, and it’s nice to know they’re a phone call away if I need anything.
4. What Jet machines and accessories are in your tool shop?
5. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in woodworking?
My most value lesson was learned in 2017: Slow down!
I grew up farming and went into the military so my whole life was “HURRY UP HURRY UP!” We never walked…it was more of a slow run! We had to hurry to get corn in the fields, hurry to get corn out of the fields, I had to hurry to chow down and I had to hurry to make my bed. Then as a carpenter, I was always racing to beat the rain.
When I started woodworking, I had that same mindset. And as most of you know, that doesn’t work with woodworking.
A man I follow on instagram (@JCHcabinets) said in a podcast once that some of the best woodworkers he knows work in slow motion,” and that really clicked with me.
From that day on (well, 90% of the time!), I learned to slow down and think about my next move and don’t rush anything!
It’s really hard for me not to put my head down and work fast like the old days, but no one likes to ruin a high-dollar piece of hardwood, so it’s best to fly “low and slow!!!”
You can find Jeff on Instagram here: @j.him_woodworking