Everyone doesn’t become a doctor, lawyer or an engineer. Some people build really cool stuff with their hands. And we don’t have enough of them! Andrew Scruggs heard the call of craftsmanship beckoning and went on a search for knowledge.
One day, while working on his car, Andrew Scruggs thought to himself how he loved being able to see the tangible evidence of his hard work. The engine running smoothly. The repairs he made to the carburetor, it was all right in front of him.
Andrew, a graduate of the University of Alabama, had a bachelor’s degree and accompanying masters degree in archeology and anthropology. He was working as a historical analysis at Fort McClellan and although the work was interesting and purposeful, he had this lingering feeling of dissatisfaction with how his career was going. He wrote a lot of reports, did a lot of desk work, but to Andrew it was hard to locate the meaning in the work. It felt empty.
After working on the car that day, he realized that he felt most useful and fulfilled working with his hands. Building, constructing, doing something that provided tangible evidence of his hard work.
He decided to take matters into his own hands, LITERALLY. On a whim he scoured the internet for local places in Alabama to learn carpentry, and found the Woodworkers Guild in Alabama. It was career path that has led him to where he is today: working at ExpoDisplays as a carpenter. Before joining the guild Andrew had no idea how to build much of anything, or the tools it took to start. Going from archeology to carpentry is quite a jump.
He joined the woodworkers guild in Maylene, Alabama where he learned not only how to use all the tools necessary, but also how things were built. He said that the guild has lists and lists of mentors, teachers of all things carpentry, ranging from basic tool and equipment training to building handmade guitars, and even a mentor who’s sp
ecialty is 19th century woodworking tools. Practically everything you could ever think of, there is someone at the woodworkers guild that is versed in it. You decide on the project you want to construct, find a mentor that specializes in that field and get down to building. It’s a very hands on approach to learning, which is exactly what Andrew had been hoping for. A satisfaction that had so long escaped Andrew saturated him as he began his journey in carpentry.
Now a carpenter at ExpoDisplays, he said that he feels completely comfortable with the expectations, knows his limits, and thrives on the challenge of the work. “I’ve enjoyed being able to see the project from the beginning of production to the end phase of staging.” His favorite project to work on so far? “ The display case for Auburn University.” He states “It’s one thing to see all the pieces being built in the shop, but anticipating the challenges that come when the project is being staged is exciting.”
Leaving the life he knew for something else was frightening and disorienting, but on the other side of those fears and confusions he found fresh challenges and satisfaction in learning to use his hands to build.
Click here for more information about the Alabama Woodworker’s Guild.