Sounds a LOT like my Dad, although his knowledge of vacuum tubes began to wane as his career moved away from that technology. He also used to dabble in winemaking - specifically catawba wine, which meant it often went bad.My Grandfathers basement was a workshop and a half. Every tool and tester for vacuum tube era electronics work. Reel to Reel recording, mixing and editing equipment. ( Later replaced by more modern formats ) Full photo lab for his photography, dark room, enlargers, a refrigerator dedicated to his film. Wood working equipment that I don't know much about, a library full of books on electronics, aviation, maritime, US history, space, engineering, Rail, and all of the topics above.
My mom did observe that he went there often largely to isolate himself, since like many people who have workshops or craft rooms - there were large times where he didn't appear to actually create anything. He loved to go to Amish auctions and bring back exotic and antique tools. I remember when he explained to me what the beetle and froe were used for, or how to use draw blades or an adze. I was probably the only member of my family who was actually welcome in his shop, since it was actually his RETREAT. There he would sometimes explain science, or math or even try to describe engineering problems he came across.
Like your dad - it was also full of books on things like history, especially submarine history in the Pacific War, rare tools, steam charts - I remember he had a textbook from a course he said was the hardest he ever took - I think it was called "transport phenomena".
But - I do think he transformed after he became a dedicated Christian, and I mean that in the true sense of the word. When I was small, he was always involved in serving the church we grew up in - but he was personally distant from it. If you needed a strong back, a laborer, an organizer - he was first in line.
I don't think my Dad ever "addressed" his need to be expressive - I just think he found a better outlet than just hanging out in his man cave.