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How on earth do you get some quality shop time without the wifey feeling (and showing you) that she's being neglected? I'm brand spanking new to woodworking as a hobby and recently spent a BUNCH of $$$ on tools etc. and have several projects I'd like to do but can only seem to squeeze a couple hours in a week to avoid hitting her breaking point. Any advice from happily-married woodworkers is appreciated!!!

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Mine says that she's the shoemakers wife, that I make more stuff for others and not her.  I would suggest starting a project and surprising her with it.  I did that and then my wife felt bad for the nagging.  Haha.

My answer would be Involvement with Respect. Build projects that embrasses her life and involve her in your hobby.

Treat her with respect and explain to her what your plans are and get her involved in your new hobby.   One way to to do this is to have her help you plan a project and if possible get her to help you design and build the project.  Try to build a project that is dedicated to her.  Here is my story of how I got my Wife involved several years ago.

  My wife is attached to tropical fish and for years had a couple small fish tanks.  She had a 3 day business trip into San Francisco and was going to be just before her Birthday.  I was building some cabinets for a customer at the time and asked her to help me pick out some lumber for a large, what she though was going to be a large 7 ft long, low height storage cabinet.  I had her help design some doors and pick out the material for the top.  She even helped me with some of the material prep work and all the time I was telling her that I was in need of her assistance as I would have to do this thing in a very short time frame.  As time went on she helped me with building the frame and started on the doors getting most of the actual frame and doors done.  She had a great time as she was thinking how much she was helping get a customer's project done.  She just didn't realize who the customer was.

She left for the business trip and while she was gone I burned alot of midnight lights and the cabinet suddenly turned into a different cabinet.  I milled down some 2x 4's and build a frame within the frame that would hold up a trucks weight.  Upon her return from San Francisco she walked in on her Birthday and sitting in the family room under a great big bow ribbon was that cabinet.  On top of the cabinet sit a 6 foot long 125 gallon fish tank filled with water and ready for fish.  A birthday card was taped to the side of the tank with a "Thank You for your help", note and an additional gift certificate from her favorite fish store.  This might have been some trickery but it got her attention as to how easy it is to get anything  she wanted by building it in the shop.  It exposed her to woodworking in a very personal way.

I would expose her to the wonders of the craft by taking her to the wood working shows, on shopping trips for material, home shows and in exchange I would take interest in her love of life like gardening and make trips with her to gardening shows and things that she was interested in.  I made each trip special by things like lunch and dinner out and of course at most garden shows there is always the added items like park benches tables and planter boxes yard decorations and gives you a chance to enlighten her as to how easy it would be to build the same thing only tell her how much better it could be built and how it could be designed to make it special to her own tastes.  Ask her what she likes and dislikes about the items.  The world is full of things make of wood and things that could be made in the shop and all are topics for conversation about woodworking and methods to seek a conversation and imput from the wife.  Again Involvement.

Now she is like my right hand and helped me in my business for several years learning the trade.  She is always ready to go into the shop and build a project of own using my scrap wood making scroll saw cut out items, small boxes, planters and the like.  (This was another Christmas gift to her was her own scroll saw.) She makes gifts for family , friends, and is often just giving something away even to a complete stranger.  She enjoys photography and I get her to do alot of my photography of my projects, here again involvement in your craft. 

She has always been into retail management and currently employed in management at a Harbor Freight tools store in Portland, Oregon. 

What is the rewards for all this? The happiest days of my life.  You can't force someone to understand and develope a love for woodworking but you sure can involve them and introduce them to the crafts and the rest will take care of its self.  Enjoy your life and your love for your wife by involving her with what is most likely a strange mysterious venture but with your understanding and help will soon be an adventure to her as well.




Jay is 100% right , I get most of my ideas or reasons to build a project directly from my wife. She is a great source of ideas and suggestions.

I'll hear things like this is what I want , this is how I want it to look and this is what I want it to do. and as the project comes to life she gets a little more excited everyday. The more she is involved with the project the more she cant wait for the next one to start.

A happy wife = A happy life

thanks guys, for the info. It is very helpful.  I'll keep this discussion open for others to chime in as the days go on. Surely I'm not the only guy to wonder about this...
Try to make your workroom sound proof so you can work when she is asleep. Also if your shop is sound resistant if you are in there for longer then you think (i know i loose track of time while in mine) it will help keep you out of sight out of mind :)
I have the opposite problem, the hubby is nagging me that I'm spending too much time in my workshop. ) I make things for him, never forget to ask for a hand...even when I don't need it, ") makes him feel needed, and keep plenty of beer in the fridge for him.
My wife enjoys cooking, and is very good at it.  Her culinary hobby is similar to my woodworking in that she needs a workshop (kitchen) that's well equipped with quality tools.  I've made sure she has all the best mixers, processors, stove, oven, and assorted kitchen gadgets and she doesn't complain when I want a new tool for my shed that is slowly turning into a shop.  I let her buy all the raw materials she needs at the grocery store and she doesn't mind when I come home with the truck full of wood.  We trade off making stuff for each other.  I make her a bookcase or a table; she makes sure I'm always eating well.
None of you have a better, kinder and more considerate wife than me, she left to go shopping 25 years ago and I havn't seen her since

In our house, I spend time building projects that "Momma" wants build.  I have learned to enjoy, for the last 30years, building projects that my wife finds in a catalog and then I build them. Under this agreement, buying more tools has never been a problem either.

Doing projects together has been a real joy for both of us.

like most of the others have said, build projects she wants, but put your own twist on the project, but dont ruin her ideas. she will be happy and you will too with the out come, and she will let you and encourage you to buy more tools to make her projects. but this is a doubled edged swoard. you will have to keep making her projects for the rest of your or her life. but you will love to do it, i do. she comes up with the basic idea and i go from there. sometime right and sometimes wrong, but i love doing it. just try to figure out what she wants and make it. good luck.
She showed up at my house.........COME GET HER!!!!!

Peter Green said:
None of you have a better, kinder and more considerate wife than me, she left to go shopping 25 years ago and I havn't seen her since
It is important to make sure Momma is getting what she wants out of your shop. Somehow that doesn't apply to my wife's quilting, though. LOL. I can attest that I pretty much can go buy any tool I want as long she's getting what she wants. Somehow, my wife is always trying to get me to go to my shop. Maybe you should try being as charming (cough, cough) as me.

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