My wife and I just got back from Dallas, TX. We went to Dallas to attend my 23 year old nephew's formal engagement ceremony. The engagement event was a lot of fun and now we can hardly wait for the wedding in August. I finally got some time to introduce myself to the forum. If the post gets too long then please don't feel obligated to read the whole thing.
My name is Mohammad Madha. Yes I know that my last name is spelled differently in my user id. I was having some issues signing up so I requested the web admin to create the account manually. I am sure it was just a typo but I didn't make a fuss because everyone in this forum is on a first name basis anyway. I am originally from Pakistan and have been living in the USA for the last 17 years. I work in the IT industry and try to learn more about woodworking in my spare time. I found out about this forum by answering an Ad in the Craigslist by Vaughn Mcmillan. He was selling his Craftsman lathe and I thought it would be a nice step up from my Jet mini. I ended up not buying the lathe, mainly because the price was over my spending limit. The secondary reason was the space limitation, which I will discuss a little later on. The good thing is that I came across this forum while doing the research on the Craftsman lathe.
I have been married for over 8 years. We don’t have any children but thinking about starting a family soon. My wife is of South-Asian origin as well but she grew up in Toronto. She is a Dental Hygienist. She and a dentist friend of ours have just bought a dental office in Los Angeles. My wife and I live in a small one-bedroom apartment in the Palms areas of West Los Angeles. It is about 10 minutes away from the famous Venice beach and about 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. Housing is pretty expensive in this part of Los Angeles, so the dream of owning our own house has eluded us for quite some time. For the last several years we have been saving money for a down payment but as we saved more the real estate market had kept going up. Moving out to a suburb is not an option as my wife does not want to move out of the Westside. She loves the ten minutes drive to her work. Market has cooled down since last year but it hasn’t dropped much on the Westside. So we patiently wait…
I got interested in woodworking about 4 years ago when I was visiting friends and family in Pakistan. A friend of mine had made a carved dining table. It was not the most beautiful thing that I had ever seen but it was good enough to spark my interest. I came back to L.A. and started looking for ways to learn more about woodworking. A local (about 27 miles from my home and is considered local in L.A.) community college offered a very comprehensive list of woodworking courses. Mike Henderson is a regular at this college. I signed up for Woodworking 101. Before taking that course I hadn’t even heard of table saw, band saw, planer etc. That course exposed me to all these basic machines and taught me how to use them in a safe manner. Over a period of four years I have taken several classes like Woodturning, Hand Tools, Wood Finishing, Carving and couple of furniture making classes as well. About a year ago I signed up for the introduction to Cabinet making class but dropped it later on because I wasn’t enjoying it too much. I am not ruling out giving it another shot in the future though. I enjoy turning more than any other area of woodworking. I like segmented turning more than turning green bowls and want to branch out to artistic turning.
The only machine that I own is a Jet mini lathe but I rarely use it because it is extremely difficult to turn anything in a small apartment. I sometimes turn small stuff out in the patio (7’ x 2’) but even that brings sawdust into the living room. I usually do that when my wife is not home and try to clean up before she gets back. No matter how good is the clean up job, my wife always figures out that I had been turning. It is like the woman has a built-in sawdust radar or something. Because of the space restriction I make very few pieces in a year. Pretty much everything is made in the wood shop at the community college. Good thing is that the college allows you to take the same class several times over.
I consider myself a novice when it comes to woodworking skills. I can see that there are a lot of very knowledgeable and experienced woodworkers in this forum. I am sure I will be able to learn a lot from all of you. I know that members in this forum like to see pictures so gradually I will try and post pictures of my tools and finished and un-finished projects. I am happy to have found this warm and friendly forum.