How did this obsession with wood come about?

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Blog entry by WyOutLaw posted 12-09-2013 06:16 AM 1465 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I guess it could all be blamed on a fat bearded guy, in a red suit. Back in December of 1973, a Handy Andy Tool Chest was left in the hands of an impressionable 5 year old in Vacaville, California … and a woodworker was born.

Well, I think there was probably more interest in the cap gun six-shooters, football helmet, and Hot Wheels that morning, but that Christmas was my introduction to woodworking.
As a young boy, I helped my father with various wood projects out in the garage (always with tool box in tow). Back then, the hardest part of each project came at the end, trying to get everything to fit back in the box and latching it closed again.

Jump ahead to the 8th grade. I enrolled in Mr. Baker’s woodworking class, at Rancho Junior High, where I designed and built a butcher block cutting board, hand carved a bowl with a gouge, and created a magazine rack with a secret compartment in the base. I was hooked!

To make a long, wheezing, narrative shorter… At age 15, I ended up in Utah. My interest and skills developed and I focused on furniture. I was drawn to the simplistic Craftsman and Shaker styles with their subtle straight lines and design cues from nature and no-nonsense simplicity. I read every woodworking magazine and book I could get my hands on and started gathering up tools when I could.

Then I came across the works of James Krenov, a Russian woodworker who was more than writing about cabinetmaking… but, also a philosophy in working wood. His writings left a big impression on the way I approach a project and the way I feel about wood. The more I worked with wood the more I appreciated its raw forms and textures.

I stumbled on to an opportunity in 2002 to live in the Uinta Mountains, in a forest ravished by pine beetle. The materials were free and endless! My passion for woodworking and the outdoors has grown into an obsession for creating unique, rustic furnishings that are inspired by nature and western living. I love dead trees and reclaimed lumber… with its bug ravaged surfaces and weathered past. There is something very unusual about wood and what the harsh elements can do to it.

I now make my home in the unforgiving mountains of Southwest Wyoming where I battle the long winters and work wood. My dream is to make my living building the furniture I love & sharing it with others.

-- Craig Bullard

6 comments so far

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

789 posts in 3861 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 07:07 AM

Very cool story and beautiful furniture. The moose in the background is cool too.

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View hoss12992's profile


4043 posts in 1921 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 07:12 AM

Awesome post buddy. Im very impressed that you still have your Handy Andy tool kit. I really like your style of furniture making and your craftsmanship is top notch. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1248 posts in 1742 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 09:26 AM

“Handy Andy” Love that name!
Would love to see a little bit more about your shop and how you live there op in the mountains!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3363 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 02:59 PM

Great looking furniture!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View mnpete's profile


226 posts in 2686 days

#5 posted 12-09-2013 04:59 PM

I got that exact same tool kit for Christmas, probably in 1974 in Clovis, NM (Cannon AFB) when I was five! Wow! I wish I still had it. Thanks for the great memory!

That kit obviously sent you on a journey of building beautiful furniture. I really like the shelf with the small cabinet.

-- Follow my woodworking adventures in The Second Wind Workshop,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18292 posts in 3704 days

#6 posted 12-10-2013 08:13 AM

Nice work with that little tool kit ;-) I started a couple years later with a pocket knife I got for Christmas from my grandparents.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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