**Check out my podcast with ‘Twin Dad Joe’ that tells a little bit about my story as a twin dad and how I started my woodworking business as a stay at home parent (20 min mark for the business discussion)**
My father, Tim, is a first-generation American; both of his parents emmigrated from Ireland when they were teenagers. My grandfather, Frank, started his career as an apprentice carpenter in Ireland at age 14 and came to the US two years later. The Robinson family settled in the Philadelphia suburbs. When Frank and my grandmother, Mary Gerrighty, settled down on a 75 acre farm in the Malvern area they were sure to teach their 6 children about the value of hard work and quality of work.
Years later, after his parent’s had divorced, my father traveled to Florida to live with Frank and quickly started his own career in carpentry at the ripe ‘old age’ of 13. My father started out building new homes and then went on do commercial construction buildings in center city Philadelphia; retiring after 32 years as a union carpenter.
My parents well understood the risks and hardships that can come with a career in commercial construction and carpentry and they encouraged me to pursue a college degree. After completing 2 years at West Chester University (and making the National Team in Swimming) I realized that this wasn’t the path for me. I attended carpentry trade school for 4 years, while completing my apprenticeship, and graduated as a Journeyman in May of 2012. During this time I was able to work side-by-side with my father as he finished the last few years of his career and learned a great deal from him including my love of numbers and carpentry layout.
During my 7 years in commercial construction I had married and became a father to twin boys. Until this time the risks of my profession had never weighed too heavy on my mind. However, after a fatality and near fatal accident at my job site I began to seriously reconsider a career in high rise construction. With the impending cost of child care x 2 and my desire to continue working in carpentry I decided to start my own woodworking company. Initially, it was difficult to change gears from a busy career in construction to full time dad and business owner. But as the boys have grown, along with my business, I’ve really enjoyed watching them learn new things and learn new woodworking skills myself. Taking on new projects, like farmhouse tables and live edge shelving, is a fun challenge and I look forward to furthering my business.
Perhaps there will be a few 4th generation carpenters as well…