This interview, with Jordan Straker, is from the January 2014 issue of our LumberJocks’ eMag.
Tell us how you started into woodcarving
I started carvings after an arthritis operation on my hand in 1988. That Christmas I got a Dremel and said “What on earth am I going to do with this – I don’t fix cars!” But in the manual 1001 things to do with a Dremel, was a picture of someone carving a little bird and I said “I bet I could do that” and my brother said “I dare you.” I never refuse a dare.
I carved a pretend bird that was mostly carved with a scissor sharpening bur and was outlandish but dang, if it didn’t win “Best of Show” at a local carving competition. The judge said “What is the name of that bird anyways?” “Oh” I replied, “That’s the, um, yes, Brown Flicker Flasher.” So what initially caught my interest about carving was that huge ribbon I hung out of my car window as I drove home.
And your journey, since that beginning?
The journey has been a long one because I want to create everything out of everything. I just love to make things.
The only challenge is the time it takes to hog the wood off. The rest just comes naturally which is a huge and appreciated blessing for me.
What is your favourite tool?
My favorite tool is the Dremel 732. It’s the industrial model that Dremel sent me to demo in 1990 and it while it is now out of circulation, it is still running fine to this day and I would be lost without it. Other than that, I use a 4” chain on a circular grinder and go through about 4 Dremel 4000’s per year.
What is your favourite creation?
My native and western themes are my favorite creations because they are so versatile and I can let my imagination run wild.
What tips do you have for beginning woodworkers?
I am a carver, not specifically a wood worker and there is so much about wood working in general that I haven’t a clue about so I cannot give any tips to struggling wood workers but as carver I can only say that putting in time is what makes a person progress.
How did you find LumberJocks.com and why do you keep coming back?
I don’t recall how I found Lumberjocks but immediately upon joining, I was bombarded with comments from the friendliest online people I had ever encountered. These days I do a lot of gourd carving and I feel somewhat like a traitor or possibly infringing on the topic of lumber so I haven’t posted much but I often look in on my old friends and appreciate the support they have always shown me, no matter what project I displayed.
And, Jordan – we appreciate you stopping by and for taking the time to do this interview!
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)