With every interview I get more excited. I truly enjoy getting to know the people behind the user names. I think you are going to be fascinated by this one. I know I am!
What is your inspiration story? Who did you watch, what was their hobby, and how did you get involved?
I owe my love of woodworking to my sixth grade shop teacher. I was the new kid at the school, and the first day of shop class he asked me to pick out a project to build from his monster sized file cabinets. I pulled out this plan for a beautiful cherry, oak, and walnut chess table—it was massive with dovetailed drawers underneath, dropped leaves…the works. The bill of lumber came to about $300, and there was no way my dad would give me that much cash so I had to pick something else. By this time I learned my shop teacher made electric guitars on the side, and I asked if I could make one. He said I could but that I would have to make every bit of it from raw materials—no pre-made fretboard, no neck blanks—just rough cut lumber. Not knowing any better, I agreed. This project taught me how to shape wood by feel, not by sight. The importance of sanding, and how to orient a board to bring out all of it potential beauty.
Power or hand tools? Why?
Anything to get what’s in my head into reality. Sometimes its a file, rasp, or hand plane. Sometimes it’s a table saw or chainsaw. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, it’s a torch. Seriously, though—I don’t get much time to do woodworking, and for me, I get more satisfaction from creating and designing than I do from the building process—getting something in my head to the final project is what makes me smile, so whatever I can use to get the outcome is what I use.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in woodworking?
Find a woodworking club or at least someone willing to teach all that they know. there are a million ways to get hurt in the shop, and having someone tell you that something is dangerous is much better than getting the “you were doing what?” look from a nurse at the Emergency Room. Also, read everything that you can. I learned how to make boxes, cut circles on a table saw, and wood burn all from books.
If you could build one thing, what would it be? What is your dream woodworking project?
That stinking awesome horse that Jeffro Uitto made with driftwood. Also, anything of Sam Maloof’s—mostly his rockers. My shop, for now, isn’t really big enough to tackle a project like that, but I am really impressed how from top to bottom the chair flows like water—the shaping is the draw for me.
What would you like to share with fellow Lumberjocks that you haven’t shared on your project page or introduction blog?
I do not like sitting still. Sanding and shaping wood is one of the few things I can do for long stretches of time that really keeps my attention. I am a bit hyperactive, and at 41 years old it hasn’t gotten any better. The focus that I get mid-project is extremely relaxing, but it drives my wife nuts at times because it’s all I think about.
What inspires you regarding woodworking? What keeps you interested in woodworking as a hobby?
Trees. Trying to guess what stresses cause some of the beautiful grain patterns from one to the next. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt with boards—finding the beauty in a flaw is what I like best, and luckily for me, there are beautiful flaws everywhere, if they are treated right. Also curves. Everyone knows what a good curve looks like. Lathe work at its purest is a non stop studying of curves and trying to achieve perfection.
What are the greatest challenges that you have met in your woodworking journey? And how did you deal with such challenges?
Money has been the greatest challenge for me. This hobby of ours does not come cheap. The lumber, the tools, the time…they all come with a price.
In 2010 I finally got back into wood working after 20 years by buying a boat anchor of a lathe, and made the decision that I wasn’t allowed to buy a new tool until I made enough from the tools I already had to pay for it. This forced me to get better at what I do, and to take the time to do things right. So far, it has worked out for me, and my little bitty shop has just about everything I need.
What is the greatest reward you have received in woodworking?
I belong to a woodworking club, and every now and then someone will bring their child into the shop. I get a kick out of teaching them how to use a lathe to make a pen, and when they get finished with it, I can tell that they are thoroughly impressed with themselves because they made it. That is the best reward I get passing knowledge on to someone new, and lighting a spark that they will hopefully carry with them into adulthood.
What is your favorite creation you’ve made in your woodworking?
Right now it’s those melting pots. I am still getting ideas for new ones, and they are just fun going from chunks of lumber to finished product. My favorite project of all time would have to be my acoustic guitar I built in ‘92. I still have it. I can only play 4 cowboy chords on it, but I still like to get it out once and awhile and bang out a tune.
How did you find Lumberjocks and what keeps you coming back?
In 2010 when I started woodworking again, I forgot most all I had learned in school. So, every time I had a question about something I would search the internet for the answer. After doing this several times, I noticed that Lumberjocks, more than any other site, had the most answers than any other woodworking site I came across.
I keep coming back because I enjoy the community of wood workers here, and after four years it is still the place I turn to first for answers to woodworking questions.
-- "Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours."