Hi David, good name (my middle name). I use redwood a lot for my outdoor construction projects. It holds up outdoors. I don't always finish it,so it darkens over time. Most of the redwood I use is construction grade, farmed wood, which means it is usually pretty soft. I use pine for anything that will bear much weight. Hope you will post some pictures. So welcome to the Forum. I recommend going through Stick's collection of pdfs. Here's one from me on the 18 major and additonal minor things that helped me learn woodworking. It's about 10 pages, but has pictures. Hopefully you'll find something useful in it, but it was written for people fairly new to woodworking.
I think many of us here really appreciated shop teachers. Were you able to learn from your dad? No doubt you inherited some really good tools.
The more I do, the less I accomplish.