Across the Bench from Charles #1: The beginning

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Blog entry by Monte Pittman posted 06-11-2018 01:26 AM 2038 reads 1 time favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Across the Bench from Charles series Part 2: Devil's in the details »

Most don’t know that I shut down everything in the Black Hills of South Dakota and moved 1650 east to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

About last Christmas I told my wife that it was time to do something else. There’s probably a dozen or more personal reasons for us leaving SD. Those are too lengthy and family stuff to get into. However, there were mainly a few professional reasons for the move that really forced the issue. The hospital where I worked for 38 years is currently going through major changes that I was not at all comfortable with. Also, my main focus in woodworking was Beetle Kill Pine. When I started making furniture I wanted to build more Fine Furniture, but BKP was paying the bills.

The problem quickly became being stuck doing nothing but BKP furniture and the supply was slowing down. The beetles are a cycle every 30-50 years and that cycle is almost finished in our area.

It’s a small population area that kept prices down for custom made anything.

In numerous talks with Charles, he said I could always help him if I came here (if you ever get a chance to speak with him directly, do it. You won’t meet a nicer individual). He also mentioned that there was a new hospital here. Upon checking it out, they had a job opportunity for me. The decision was made to go for it. I now live about 1 city block from Charles Shop and work at the local hospital. My schedule there allows me very good time to spend in Charles shop.

Many people think that he only does videos like many others, but not actually building furniture. The opposite is the truth. It’s a very busy Woodworking shop that puts out some videos. So the point of this blog is to cover things I learn from him while working on real furniture builds.

I will occasionally post pictures, probably never videos and lots of thoughts. It won’t be on schedule, but when I have something to talk about. Hope you enjoy and hopefully it will help many learn something new (especially me).

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

25 comments so far

View lightcs1776's profile


4210 posts in 1681 days

#1 posted 06-11-2018 01:31 AM

Sounds like a good move for you. Virginia is a beautiful state. My wife and I keep going back and forth with Virginia and Georgia.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View Handtooler's profile


1578 posts in 2159 days

#2 posted 06-11-2018 01:39 AM

I’m certainly looking forward to reading mant of your future BLOGS on this site. Thanks. You and Charles are both quite an inspiritation to this 77 year old apprentice woodworker.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View boxcarmarty's profile


16300 posts in 2387 days

#3 posted 06-11-2018 01:52 AM

Monte, you and Charles have already taught more then you can imagine…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Festus56's profile


2975 posts in 1255 days

#4 posted 06-11-2018 01:59 AM

Great blog idea Monte!! I too have learned when Charles does or says something one should pay attention….

-- Mark -- Really we're not crazy, just "Limited Editions" -- --

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3575 posts in 2278 days

#5 posted 06-11-2018 02:03 AM

Glad the move went okay, Monte. Sounds like you are in exactly the place you need to be. You are Charles are developing a symbiotic partnership and we get the benefit of all those smarts.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#6 posted 06-11-2018 02:04 AM

You are both better off for you being there, It looks like someone upstairs had a plan for both of you. Can’t help but be envious but I would not be the help you are to Charles I look forward to your future updates. God bless you, your wife and Charles and his whole great family.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View theoldfart's profile


9743 posts in 2478 days

#7 posted 06-11-2018 02:08 AM

Monte, only 1,650 miles! We just moved from the right coast to the left coast, roughly 3,000 miles.

I can relate to the big change in location, climate, elevation and culture. Luckily I’m retired so I didn’t have to deal with the added job pressure. It sounds like working with Charles is a golden opportunity so have at it and good luck and keep posting.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View boxcarmarty's profile


16300 posts in 2387 days

#8 posted 06-11-2018 02:09 AM

Damn, I guess I’m gonna hafta pack the truck and come visit…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29395 posts in 2365 days

#9 posted 06-11-2018 02:17 AM

I have a large spare bedroom Marty

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DocSavage45's profile


8601 posts in 2869 days

#10 posted 06-11-2018 02:28 AM

Hey Monte!

Nice name for a blog. Hope Charles is healing nicely and Behaving himself. LOL! Look forward to seeing you grow as an artist (and a person if that’s possible LOL!) You’re in a beautiful place and I Know Charles is big on southern antiques, as well as having a good clientele.

You’ve gone through some major changes getting to where you are now.

Hope you learn from the “Big dog” and develop your own path as well.

Looks like you made it back to Virginia?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29395 posts in 2365 days

#11 posted 06-11-2018 02:37 AM

Second trip across country was entertaining. My wife and I agreed that we will not take the turnpike route again.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View oldrivers's profile


1322 posts in 1593 days

#12 posted 06-11-2018 03:21 AM

My, My what a change in terrain as a woodworker I bet you will love the tree cover mountains of the East. Great opportunity to wornk with Charles! I wish you the the best, Amen.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

433 posts in 969 days

#13 posted 06-11-2018 03:41 AM

All the pieces seem to have come into place for a great move and new continuing life adventure for you and your wife. Congratulations for putting it all together.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3460 days

#14 posted 06-11-2018 04:29 AM

The only problem I see is that it’s a LONG way from Andy’s place.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29395 posts in 2365 days

#15 posted 06-11-2018 10:24 AM

Gary, seems strange, but I am actually closer to Tulsa than before. Just a different angle.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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