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21 posts in 716 days
Location: Santa Maria CA
I was that rare bird, the newspaperman who actually knew his subject - in my case, business finance and insurance. I could write plain English, too, and for four amazing years, I had a voice in a big-time newspaper - a weekly column for the biz page of the LATimes. My readers were people who ran small and mid-sized business in Los Angeles - men and women who knew manufacturing or marketing or distribution but rarely back-office finance and almost never business insurance. It was the great joy of my life that I could help them make sense of those two subjects and thus strengthen their businesses.
My wife and I left Los Angeles four years ago to retire in Santa Maria, a mid-sized farm town 12 miles from the ocean on California's central coast. I'd done lots of woodworking before then (see my website for details) including such items as a low TV cabinet of cherry and alder, a lovely incidental cabinet of white oak for Elise, a beech and walnut veneered writing desk, and bedroom furniture of beech and walnut.
Then one day in January, 2013, Elise announced that she had plenty of nice furniture, thank you very much, and would I please find something else to make.
It happened that I'd just seen a piece in one of the woodworking magazines on making infill planes, and I thought: How's about we give this a try? The result was pretty crude design-wise, and the workmanship left a good deal to be desired. But the darn thing cut a decent shaving, and I loved the heft and feel of it. Ditto the sound of the iron as it did the work. And I thought: Let's make another and see how the puppy barks.
The result was what you see in the photo of me nearby - my second plane, somewhat less crude in design than the first but a pretty good worker.
I was now hooked.
I've done nothing but make infill planes since then with a simple goal in mind: to wake up in the morning knowing that the plane I'm working on will be better than the last one. I meet that goal with every plane I make, and the work utterly and completely absorbs me. How amazing!
-- Juan Vergara, California, www.juanvergara.net