A Kansas Lumberjock Offical Meeting at Kev's Place

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 06-13-2007 04:01 PM 1600 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After reading Martin’s blog yesterday about all of us having some lumberjock club meetings, I did one of those head slap moments and thought out loud, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

What a great idea, a nice way to tie us altogether….actual face, to face club meetings.

I was first visited by Joel Tille from Iowa. Then, it was Kevin Larcom from Wichita. Now, Karson tells me that he will honor me by a visit late this summer while he is in Kansas seeing family. I think this website could start to look like some of those match making sites. But, we won’t need 29 matching character traits to find a match. We only need one. “Are you a lumberjock?”

Of course, we aren’t searching for a date, or a mate (at least not me), but rather for comraderie and a shared love for things made from wood. The one element that I have missed though is the face-to-face part of a relationship with a friend. Now, with the concept of the local club meetings for lumberjocks, we will get that also. What a great idea, “Slap!”

I try to work on the website and look at the photo of the other jock I’m typing to, and get the feel of talking face to face. But, some of you have dogs, fish, spider man, Homer Simpson pointing a gun, or other funny photos for your thumbnail, and it just isn’t the same when talking to a photo of a dog, or a fish! One guy has a photo with Marilyn Monroe, and I can’t seem to get past her face to look at his. Wow, she was a beauty. So, the face-to-face relationship has been something I have wanted from the lumberjocks community.

Ok, ok, so here’s a report from the 1st & 2nd Kansas Lumberjock Meetings documented for antiquity:

I have been working with “Kev”, aka Kevin Larcom on some ideas to help him realize his dream of having his own woodworking business. I met “Kev” at the Great Plains Woodcarver’s show in Wichita a few weeks back. My Maloof-Inspired rocker caught his attention, and so we had a chance to meet each other.

As he asked questions, and discussed his dreams, it dawned on me that most of what I had to say to him, I had already typed up and posted in various spots on Lumberjocks. So, I told him to join lumberjocks, and he would be introduced to a lot of the feedback I had already written, and more importantly, a big bunch of other folks that are smarter and more experienced than me, that he can glean information from.

If I had enough work, I would have tired to hire him on the spot, based on the small photos of some of his projects he carried around on his phone camera. But, I work alone, at least at this point. It is hard enough to find work for one right now. Maybe another time.

A few days later, I was thrilled to see a new “Jock” post his projects under the name “Kev.” Several days flashed by and I recommended that Kevin enter the Thorsen Challenge, and I gave him some good reasons why. For one, it would be a good way for a magazine editor to look at his work. And for another reason, the table would be cool, and saleable, I guess that is three reasons. I had some extra Walnut and Maple and Kevin honored me by using it to build his Checker Board Table.

During our 1st Kansas Lumberjock Meeting, Kevin came out to my place. I had planned to clean up a bit before he arrived that morning, but another friend of mine had just found out he had been laid off, and came out to see me. He said his first stop was at home to tell his wife, and then he drove over to see me hoping I was home. He said that he almost came to me before seeing his wife, but I assured him that he did the right thing by telling her first.

I had another friend a few months ago stop by after he was laid off. I don’t have any beer to give someone, but it seems that I’m a good guy to give a “hug” when a job dream dies. Or, maybe a good guy to push someone to do what they already know in their heart they want to do, just haven’t had the guts to step out and do it. I feel that getting laid off is just a good “push.”

Remember folks, you are who you are because God made you. You not important because of the money you make, or the job you have, or the things you buy with the money you get paid. If you bank your self esteem on those loose threads, you can be easily crushed if you get unexpectedly laid off one day, especially if you have borrowed money against those future paychecks that just stopped coming. You have value in this world because you exist, not by what you are paid to do. I’m sure Debbie has a better way to put it, but that is my take on it.

I’ve not been laid off before, but I have quit a couple of good jobs to pursue my dreams of doing woodworking, so I mostly listen to a friend and then encourage them to pursue their own personal dreams, and then try to help them figure out what that is. We make lists, develop concepts, make a list of what they need for training and experience.

I’m not a guy that says, “just do it!” A new career chasing a dream needs a lot of planning because there is a lot at stake, a lot of risk. Once you’ve done the planning, I will then say, “just go and do what you’ve planned!”

So, after my friend went on home to start working on his “my dream” list, Kevin showed up to see me later that day. I hadn’t had time to clean up anything, so he had to see the shop in the same condition I see it every day….a real ugly mess. I have promised myself that I will have it clean by the time Karson comes to visit in August. Hold me accountable, ok?

Kevin and I talked for awhile, and developed some ideas for marketing his work, especially his Wine Rack. I like that project, and I can foresee it being easy to sell, and quick for him to turn into some cash for his new business. The sort of project that I wish I had thought of first.

We also discussed his idea for the Checkerboard Thorsen table, and dug through the old Barn to find the wood for him. I sent him on his way with the wood, and a few of my books he wanted to borrow.

When he went to start his car, we found that the battery was dead. It had rained on him during the trip to my shop, so he had turned on the headlights. After getting to my place it was sunny, and neither of us noticed that his headlights were still on. His cell phone didn’t get coverage at my place, so he headed in to call his wife and say that he would be late due to car troubles. By the time he had returned from the phone call, I had jump started the car, and he was quickly headed back to Wichita.

Our Second Kansas Lumberjocks meeting was my trip to Kevin’s shop. I found it to be very neat, orderly, and clean…...three things my shop is not. I don’t even think I saw any sawdust laying around. Just one pile that he had swept up with a broom. Whew, what a clean place.

He has a great tablesaw and router table unit set up to work on, and several other tools ready to do just about any project he wants to do. We discussed what his plans were for the future, and about his recent trip to an art show to hand out business cards to the canvas painting artists, with the idea of making them frames. This was a great idea, and one I sure hadn’t thought of. I was impressed by his initiative to do that marketing work. (catch that business card use, did you? – see the Forum on business cards if you want more background

Generally, one of the first things that aspiring woodworkers ask me is where can they sell their work. Kevin wants to know that also. I know the type of person that will buy functional-art, but what their names are, is something I am still working on myself. Hopefully someday, I will have a network of folks that I know who enjoy buying things from emerging functional-artists like Kevin and me. Then, I could make a few calls, and find a home for something like Kevin’s Wine Rack, or Checkboard Thorsen table. Until then, I can only give encouragement to do the hard work, the marketing, the “paying of dues.”

He also showed me the walnut picture frame he made, which is now a new posted project. We also discussed his Sculpted Wine Rack again, and I got an update on his marketing work for it. I had several other meetings to make that afternoon, so I had to cut our meeting short. I then headed on to see a problem bandsaw with a friend of mine named Keith. I can’t get him to join lumberjocks, but I am still working on that. Then, I headed out to see Hatman Jack’s store to see if they had any walking cane sale money for me. Then, on to see Richard who had a friend Pete that he wanted me to meet who is remodeling a large home and might need some new furniture some day. A busy day.

There you have it. Now Kevin and I are actively recruiting for more Kansas Lumberjock buddies. Kevin is a member of the Wichita Woodworker’s Guild, and so maybe he can get some more jocks from that group.

thanks Martin for this community,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

13 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4354 days

#1 posted 06-13-2007 04:27 PM

A great story as usual.
It sounds like you’ve been enjoying yourself without any new project pressures.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4460 days

#2 posted 06-13-2007 04:31 PM

Thanks Dick: I did find out this morning that I have another project to do. It is for the folks I built all of the Arts & Crafts work for. They need some help in their kitchen this time, and I get to do some carving! I had been waiting to hear if they were moving first though, as they were planning on attending an auction for a house last night. I heard this morning that the house sold, but they didn’t buy it. The Kitchen project is a “go.” Hurray.

I’m going to help out a cabinet maker friend from our church that is swamped right now. He also makes custom entry doors, so I get to see how that is done also. He needs some help for a few days to get over the hump, so I’m putting my own stuff on hold for a few days, at least a couple of days.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4460 days

#3 posted 06-13-2007 04:32 PM

nothing here, just couldn’t let my post log count sit at “666”

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4216 days

#4 posted 06-13-2007 05:13 PM

Sounds like a great start Mark. You are mentoring, and sharing at the same time. Good luck on your new club.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4091 days

#5 posted 06-13-2007 06:49 PM

That’s great, Mark. I have to agree. The face to face part of woodworking cameraderie is really missing in my neck of the woods. I had a guy from another forum want to come out to the house and bring me some green wood to turn. I was unable to meet up with him as I needed to do something for my dad. With a busy professional life, small children, a busy wife and aging parents to do stuff for (gladly) I just don’t have time for real friends which leaves most of my social life involving my virtual imaginary friends. The LJ get togethers is an excellent idea.

I suppose we might have to do a North Central Alberta LJ BBQ or something. I think there’s Bob and I.


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4141 days

#6 posted 06-13-2007 07:00 PM

I’ve been thinking about the same here….. we have a number of LJ’s here in New England. It would be nice to get together once in awhile. It’s also a great idea to introduce others to Lumberjocks. Tell 2 friends and have them tell two friends and so on….soon Kevin Bacon is a LJ.

I’ll be interested in the custom entry doors. A beautiful door does so much for a house….sets the tone as you walk in.

-- Bob

View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4154 days

#7 posted 06-13-2007 07:10 PM

Mark, Thanks for providing such detail. I enjoy your posts and learn from them. I have been kicking around some ideas and you seem to be saying “get busy planning.” And I guess daydreaming doesn’t count. :-)

-- John

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4091 days

#8 posted 06-13-2007 07:11 PM

LOL…we’ll have the “Degrees of Lumberjocks.” How many people do you know before you have a direct link to a Lumberjock. The Oracle of Bacon

I have Kevin Bacon # of 3. I had dinner with Matt McCoy) once, about 15 years ago.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4215 days

#9 posted 06-13-2007 07:51 PM

I just found out that my gr-gr-gr-grandmother was Jane BACON.. does that count??? :D

don’t forget that you can now add your meetings to our new eMAG. Just let us know the date/time and whatever else you want to share.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Karson's profile


35128 posts in 4455 days

#10 posted 06-14-2007 12:10 AM

Mark: Don’t worry about the dust on the floor for me. If you come to my shop it will still have dust and clutter even after I clean it up.

It will be great to see you, and maybe Kev can join us. If I can ever set a firm day.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4215 days

#11 posted 06-14-2007 02:55 PM

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4460 days

#12 posted 06-18-2007 05:53 PM

Debbie: I’m amazed. How do you do that??

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4215 days

#13 posted 06-18-2007 05:58 PM

why it’s just a component of the Cyber Tool Share!!! (that and a little help from my Mac computer)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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