My Build A Maloof Inspired Rocker Instructional Bundle has helped fine woodworkers all over the world to build their “Bucket List” rocker. The following is one of my favorite customer feedback stories. It really touched me that a project from Columbus, Georgia could reach around the woodworking world.
Thomas Friedman’s book “The World is Flat” describes the world’s new reality. The computer and the Internet have made it possible for people to connect via virtual bridges of interest anywhere on the globe.
Woodworkers of the world unite! Before my Maloof Inspired Rocker bundle became available with the DVD through Highland Woodworking, I sold a small booklet and the full-size patterns on my website http://www.charlesbrockchairmaker.com/. Each morning I would open my email and see if I had any new purchases from my PayPal account. There had been many sales to Canada and even Sweden, but one morning as I wiped my eyes I saw a name written in Russian. Vladimir Parfenov eagerly agreed to pay the cost of the extra shipping to get the package to Moscow, Russia. To me this was very special!
I was a middle school student during the Cold War. We lived in fear of nuclear Holocaust. Neighbors built fall-out shelters and we practiced getting under our desks at school in case of a blast. This was kind of funny to me because the desktop was wood and I figured would only accelerate our destruction. The Cuban Missile Crisis worsened our fears to the point that twelve or thirteen year old boys were talking about “the end” rather than girls and Mickey Mantle.
Now I am sixty years old and I have connected with Vladimir in Russia and he anxiously wants to build my rocker. He told me he was a beginning carpenter and was very motivated to achieve. His emails are either translated through software or he speaks and writes some English. On the fourth of July, he emailed me saying” Happy Independence Day!” This was a great moment for me. I learned that the world (as Thomas Friedman said) is virtually flat. People can connect and unite to build those bridges through common interest threads like woodworking. Vladimir and myself are probably more alike than different. How alike I may never know.
Yesterday I received the Vladimir’s pictures of his finished chair and he thanked me for my help.
I was thrilled to have my rocker patterns reach around the globe, but best of all to have an opportunity to make a friend in Russia. Woodworkers and the Internet have helped us join hands and be “Comrades” after all this time.
Read the Part 2 to learn of Vladimir’s story. I have asked him for pictures of his shop, tools and to find out about his experiences as a woodworker. The opportunity to see how a Russian woodworker pursues their love of the art will be I hope enlightening.
He began collecting tools for shaping wood to go along with the other tools in his 140 square foot shop that he maintains in the basement of a multi-story apartment building where he and his family live. His choice of wood for the rocker was 8/4 beech because it is plentiful in Russia and 10 times cheaper than walnut. He made a few errors along the way building his chair, but perseverance and a woodworker’s commitment brought his dream rocker to completion.
Hearing Vladimir’s story has helped me realize that a passion for working wood can transcend geographical boundaries and cultural differences and that we have a lot in common no matter where we live. We become inspired to work on a project and research our current questions (thank goodness for the Internet), buy or collect the tools we need or want, select wood that we can afford, retreat to a shop that is always too small, then work through the compromises of victory and defeat until we have made our project a reality.
I was thrilled to have my rocker patterns reach around the globe, but best of all to have had the opportunity to make a friend in faraway Russia. After all these years, woodworking and the Internet have helped us join hands as “comrades.”
This Saturday I received a package from Vladimir. It was one of his beautiful boxes. He sent it to me to thank me for helping him with his dream of building a Maloof inspired rocker. It is one of my most prized possessions. Thank you Vladimir!
-- Charles Brock