LumberJocks Interviews #1: HillbillyShooter

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Blog entry by Cricket posted 06-16-2014 02:16 PM 5045 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of LumberJocks Interviews series Part 2: The Box Whisperer »

”When I asked a few members for recommendations about who we should interview next, Hillbilly Shooter’s name kept coming up. I am so pleased that it did, because I am fascinated by his story. I think you are going to be as well!”

1. What is your inspiration story? Who did you watch, what was their hobby, and how did you get involved?

Although I lived in town growing up, I spent my summers and a lot of other time on the family farm. My father was always fixing things around the farm, so I grew up learning to use all types of tools as far back as I can remember. Carpentry and mechanics were things I grew up thinking everyone just did naturally. One of the things I remember most was the way my dad would stand back and quietly figure out how to solve a problem or challenge when something went wrong with a carpentry project—usually some aspect of fixing a building, loafing shed, gate or cattle pen. Dad had been the mechanic (aerial engineer and top turret gunner) on a B-17 bomber crew flying out of England during WWII, and I’ll never forget the time he taught me to hot wire 220 volt when I was in junior high school. Also, my mother was an artist who had taught art in the school system and had been draftsperson at Wedgwood during WWII. I learned to sketch and design from her, as well as the fundament! als of art.

2. Power or hand tools? Why?

Power tools are definitely my favorite for a variety of reasons, although I started out with hand tools. I had to learn how to properly use hand tools for many years before I was allowed to graduate to using power tools. Back in the 50s, the only power tools for carpentry that my dad had were a 7-1/2” worm drive Skill saw that weighed a ton, a Black & Decker hole gun, a D-handle ½” drill, and a 7” bend grinder. I grew up viewing tools as equipment you had and used to make repairs and since time is money, the quicker you fixed something, the better it was. Although it was never verbalized, the philosophy I learned was that every job had a preferred tool and you used the right tool for each job. Now, with the health challenges of age, I doubt that I could do the projects I currently enjoy without power tools. Besides, I’m a bit of a “tool-oholic,” and always have been. My favorite quote on collecting tools comes from fellow LJ richgreer who posted:

“I don’t do woodworking to make money. I do it because I enjoy it. I enjoy the process as much, if not more, than the completed project. This is a very enjoyable hobby for me. . . I cannot cost justify a (certain brand of tools) – but I don’t have to. Can a hunter or fisherman cost justify that expensive gun or boat? Can a golfer justify his/her very expensive clubs? With respect to these hobbies, no one would think about cost justifying their purchases. I feel the same way about my tools.”

3. What advice would you give to someone just getting started in woodworking?

The idea situation would be for a “newbie” to apprentice with an experienced craftsman, even if it is just helping that person on weekends or evenings as needed. Next would be to take a hands-on class with someone who knows what they’re doing, even if it is on the local level, although there are numerous seminars by outstanding craftsman available if one has the time and money. After that the Internet opens up a whole realm of options for research and exploring interests, as well as the old standards of magazines and books. And, finally but certainly not last or least, there is the LumberJock community where a myriad of topics are displayed, explored, written about and members are always available and willing to share their knowledge.

4. If you could build one thing, what would it be? What is your dream woodworking project?

This is a moving goal post. For years I wanted to build a Wooten Desk, only redesign it in an Arts and Crafts style. This desk would be my ultimate fly tying desk. Also, I’ve always wanted to build an ultimate reloading bench for shotgun, progressive pistol and single stage presses. Since joining LumberJocks and seeing the Green and Green pieces made by Darrell Peart, and reading both his and Robert “Bob” Lang’s books, I’ve developed a real desire to build some furniture in the Green and Green style. Last winter I designed a bookcase based on the Blacker House Bookcase housed at the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City. Nelson was kind enough to email photographs of the bookcase that I’ve never seen published, and which showed great details. I’d also like to build a king size bed in the Gamble house style as posted in one of Darrell’s projects ( ). Maybe I can start the Green and Green pieces as soon as I finish my current project that I’m doing just so I can play with my recently acquired Magic Molder head and cutters. I still work full time and the only shop time I have is on the weekends, so my bucket list just gets longer the longer I’m on LumberJocks.

5. What would you like to share with our fellow LumberJocks, that you haven’t shared on your project page or introduction blog?

The answer to this is the origin of my nickname “Hillbilly Shooter.” As I already mentioned, I grew up on a farm using all types of tools. A firearm is just another tool you needed to have and know how to use on a farm. It was needed for everything from varmint control to harvesting game for the dinner table. I got my first woodworking tools when I was six years old and I first learned to shoot a .22 when I was six—albeit the supervision and limitations with the .22 was far more restrictive than my use of tools. When I joined LumberJocks I tried to get the name of just “Hillbilly” but it wasn’t available. At that time I was serving the second year as President of my local, 150-member gun club, so I just tried “Hillbilly Shooter.” That name was available. Subsequent cardiac problems make it difficult to shoot 300 rounds of 12 gauge Trap in a day and my activities have regrouped to spending more time in my woodworking shop and fly-fishing. And, yes, I ! can proudly claim a true hillbilly heritage since my family came into the backwoods and hills of Taney County, Missouri back in the 1840s from the backwoods and hills of the Cumberland Gap region.

6. What inspires you regarding woodworking? What keeps you interested in woodworking as a hobby?

My inspiration is in the creative aspects of woodworking and the unlimited nature of projects that one can make out of wood. I have always found wood to be one of the best mediums for developing and constructing things I can dream up in my mind. After the practical application of wood working skills incidental to home ownership, I enjoy designing projects. Although many of my project designs never get off the drawing board (SketchUp file now), it’s still fun to dream in a medium you know you can use to bring such a dream to fruition.

7. What are the greatest challenges that you have met in your woodworking journey? And, how did you deal with such challenges?

Learning woodworking techniques, joinery and wood properties that go beyond the basics of carpentry I learned on the farm. On the farm it was how to get the job done so it would last and not have to be redone. Fine woodworking requires a far more detailed knowledge. My solution was to read as many books and magazines as I could get my hands on. Of course, a lot of this was well before the days of instant access to knowledge via the World Wide Web.

Another great challenge is finding enough time to devote to projects. However, since I haven’t figured out how to add more hours to the day, I’ll do the best with what I have been given and be grateful for that.

8. What is the greatest reward that you have received from woodworking? (personal or tangible)

As I stated on my profile, my great joy in woodworking is actually seeing a tangible result from my work. It goes farther than that in that I get great satisfaction out of coming up with an idea, designing the idea, working through the construction challenges and details for the idea, and then the satisfaction of the actual, physical realization of that idea.

9. What is your favorite creation you’ve made in your woodworking?

Every project is my favorite creation while I’m working on it, and until I start the next one. However, there are a few projects that have remained at the top. These projects that remain as enduring favorites include the Adirondack chairs and bench set I made 20-years ago, my shop cabinets and shop accessories, a mahogany deft rack and the heart shaped band saw box I made for my wife the Christmas before last.

10. How did you find LumberJocks and what is it that keeps you coming back?

Several years ago I determined I needed a good sanding block in my shop. None were commercially available that met my requirements and I couldn’t find any design so I started researching the subject on the Internet. That search turned up LJ Karson’s sanding blocks ( ). I made four of his sanding blocks and they fit my needs perfectly. At that point I started checking in on the LumberJock web site periodically and finally joined a couple of years ago. To sum up what keeps my coming back, the best description would be: exchange of knowledge, camaraderie, inspiration, motivation and it’s just plain fun. I once described this web site as better than the best woodworking magazines because I can visit it several times a day instead of just once a month or so.

Thanks for the honor of considering me for an LJ interview.

John Compton
Springfield, MO

-- Community Manager

21 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30071 posts in 2544 days

#1 posted 06-16-2014 02:26 PM

Excellent interview. Always nice to know more about our fellow members.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View a1Jim's profile


117342 posts in 3783 days

#2 posted 06-16-2014 02:37 PM

Very good interview most interesting.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 2176 days

#3 posted 06-16-2014 02:41 PM

What a great read!!!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3072 days

#4 posted 06-16-2014 03:17 PM

That was a great LJ interview and I’m so glad that I have learned more about you, John.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View robbinscabin's profile


313 posts in 3694 days

#5 posted 06-16-2014 03:23 PM

Love your answer to #8 ~ I think we all feel that way!

-- Robbinscabin,

View sras's profile


4944 posts in 3335 days

#6 posted 06-16-2014 03:37 PM

Great interview!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1755 days

#7 posted 06-16-2014 08:25 PM

Nice interview. We share similar backgrounds.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2396 days

#8 posted 06-16-2014 09:36 PM

thanks for the interview.enjoyed it.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3010 days

#9 posted 06-17-2014 12:32 AM

Gr8 interview Crickett, and John. Very happy to know more about you sir. Your Dad sounds like an amazing guy like yourself. I thank him for his service. Carry on. Look forward to more interviews, Crickett. Good stuff.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2896 days

#10 posted 06-17-2014 01:57 PM

Great interview and an interesting history.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TZH's profile


555 posts in 3346 days

#11 posted 06-17-2014 04:58 PM

Yep – what everyone else said. Thanks for sharing.


-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View Cricket's profile


2429 posts in 1798 days

#12 posted 06-17-2014 05:10 PM

If y’all have ideas of more people we should interview, please send me a message. :-)

-- Community Manager

View Ed's profile


65 posts in 2783 days

#13 posted 06-17-2014 06:43 PM

Excellent read. Thanks!

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2281 days

#14 posted 06-18-2014 12:25 PM

I love reading the interviews – different backgrounds, different means to get there, but we’re all on the same journey.

Thanks for the good read.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2982 days

#15 posted 06-18-2014 02:23 PM

Excellent interview. Everyone has a different story and journey of how they get there.


-- David in Damascus, MD

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