This month, in our June issue of our LumberJock eMag, I had the privilege of interviewing teenagewoodworker.
1. how did you find LumberJocks and what keeps you coming back?
I found out about lumberjocks the same way that countless other people have, through the Wood Whisperer. He mentioned the site and at the time I was new to woodworking so I was trying to find every website that I could that had anything at all to do with woodworking. Now what keeps me coming back is probably the community as well as how user friendly the web site is. I am able to just take a glance and I can instantly see some cool projects as well as tell what is going on without having to dig around as on many other websites. That combined with so many good people just makes the site a winner in my book!
2. tell us a bit of your woodworking history
Well my dad’s always been a do it yourself kind of guy. He’s a master electrician as well as just an all around home improvement master. He just seems to know everything so I kind of wanted to be like him and build stuff. So building has always been my passion, I was watching This Old House at 2 years old, Played with Lego’s for countless years and then one day after my proposal to build a shed had been turned down I saw an episode of the New Yankee Workshop and I was instantly hooked. I think that my first project all together was a baseball card stand, simply made out of OSB and some 2×4 offcuts using a screwdriver and a drywall saw. I don’t have it any more but since I made that I’ve never looked back.
3. I’m always interested in “inspiration” – what inspires your work and your style of work?
Personally I like Period work. That has always been my general taste and what I like about it is that although it gives you freedom it is still defined by laws. I’m a Math guy and love math so I like having the guidance of period furniture but you still have wiggle room to make it your own or build something a different way. Generally When I do period work it is based off of something I see in a house or a book or something and I just think about it and then get to work. Sometimes I will draw a little sketch on graph paper but I rarely ever go full scale except on pieces with lots of embellishments. For Contemporary or Artsy work I find my inspiration in whatever pops up. It could be a piece of wood or just a form that I see in a tree that inspires me to build something. Usually if I do that kind of stuff it is either something I have done on my own or something that a customer has brought to me. I do believe though that inspiration can be found anywhere and for lots of my more interesting furniture the things that inspire me are some very interesting things themselves.
4. what is your favourite tool and why?
My favorite tool probably has to be my Lee Valley Low angle Smoother. I just love handplanes and it is such a beautiful hand plane. That is probably one of my favorite things about woodworking, having the project being near completion and just taking a freshly sharpened blade to the wood and watching it peel right off.
5. what is your favourite project that you’ve created?
My favorite project that I have finished has got to be my bowfront desk. I honestly just love that desk. It’s not perfect by a long shot but I just love the form of it as well as the beautiful wood and everything about that desk just seemed to work. At the time I sold it I just wanted to get rid of it since it was taking up space, but now that it’s gone I miss it more everyday. I’m hoping to make another one soon as well. Now that I have it all figured out I could probably do it in a few days minus milling the wood.
6. what is the most challenging part of woodworking for you?
The most challenging part of woodworking for me is remaining calm. The problem is I get too ahead of my self. I want to see pieces together and forget to plane areas and it creates a total mess. I have been getting better at it but getting ahead of myself is one thing that has really haunted me on my past projects.
7 what is the most rewarding part of woodworking for you?
The most rewarding part of woodworking for me is between finishing and hand cutting dovetails. I love to see perfectly hand cut dovetails go together because it is such a great satisfaction once they are all done. They are the most beautiful joint in woodworking as far as I’m concerned. Luckily for me as well I have known Charles Neil for a good deal of my woodworking career so he has helped me out with finishing countless times. I’ve always liked it and now I’m getting to the point where my finished really are bringing my projects to another level and I enjoy seeing the finish complete the project and bring it all together.
8. what is the best piece of wisdom you can pass on to woodworkers?
Reach for the stars. In all honesty where there’s a will there’s a way. Even if you think of something, whether a new design or a new technique, write it down and give it a try. You can never improve unless you challenge yourself and trying to bring yourself up a notch on every single project and every single thing you do, trying to do it better than you did the last time, will make you a much much better woodworker.
9. anything else you would like to say?
Nothing in particular except the Summer is here so now its time to get out and make some SAWDUST :)
Thanks to teenagewoodworker for taking the time to do the interview.
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (http://www.execulink.com/~yohan)