The following is my second post at Discovering Wood, posted concurrently here at Lumberjocks:
I guess that I should tell you a little about me. First and foremost, I am an avid woodworker. Like I mentioned in my first post, I have been working with wood for more than 25 years (and I’m only forty!). I started back in high school with a scrollsaw, in Dad’s shop, during the heyday of country décor, cutting goose shapes from pine for my Mom’s craft business. It paid quite well, and, as it was paid per piece, I became quite fast. I fell in love with wood, and soon, I was watching Norm and Roy on PBS.
Two of my earliest solo projects were a pine bookcase (made with power tools and mortise and tenon joints ala Norm Abrams) and a rustic hickory log headboard (made completely with hand tools ala Roy Underhill).
When college came along, I took a brief “sabbatical” as I had no money and little time. I re-entered woodworking after college, finding myself with more time, but even less money. I continued along the Neander/Luddite trail primarily because I could produce rustic and log furniture with a drawknife, a chisel, a drill and a handplane for very little money, BUT I always aspired to have Norm’s shop.
Over the years, I began to accumulate some of Norm’s tools and found myself with a two car garage capable of producing, quite literally, almost anything my heart desires. I have done a little bit of everything, from small jewelry boxes to huge cabinet jobs, and while I would never want to compete with the big cabinet shops, my hobby has literally paid the bills from time to time.
Historically, my favorite things to design and build have been craftsman furniture, in the vain of L&JG Stickley, Limbert or Greene and Greene, because my formative wood lusts sprang from the “Tiger Oak” (quartersawn oak) Arts and Crafts antiques in my parent’s home. Few materials speak to me more! I longed to work with it just as I had longed to have Norm’s shop. My dreams came true to the extent that when opportunity arose, I purchased a used Timberking B20 sawmill so that I could custom cut my own quarter and rift sawn oak.The sawmill, however, broadened my horizons as it gave me occasion (and desire) to work species such as walnut, maple and sycamore.
I have dabbled with almost every wood working discipline through the years, but for some reason avoided woodturning until recently. Perhaps it was because everyone who mentioned it also mentioned how addictive it can be. I was just having too much fun exploring the many avenues of woodworking to forsake them all just to watch wood spin. As I mentioned in my first post, I was led to woodturning when I decided to finally fulfill a dream of building a set of five Windsor chairs for my family. I had never even played with a lathe, and the learning curve was initially steep, but I threw myself headlong into learning spindle-turning techniques. In fairly short order, I was ready to begin making all of the legs (20), stretchers (15) and armposts (10) necessary for my project. While those parts dried in my homemade kiln, I had time to foray into bowl turning (and I have barely looked back. They were right…it is addictive!)
Woodturning has opened incredible doors for me. The sheer spontaneity of bowl turning greenwood has led me to “open-up” logs from species that I would have never even considered working with. This has led to both successful and…well…less-than-successful pieces. But, it has also led to a thirst for knowledge.