Woodworkers that inspire you to aspire, who do you respect most?

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Forum topic by SirTonka posted 10-31-2013 10:18 AM 2467 views 2 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 1962 days

10-31-2013 10:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Interested to learn of personal woodworking mentors who’s lessons you have taken to heart, past or present.

When spending time with an author, video production, or website – that investment of time should not be wasted. The process of learning is much more fluid with personalities who feel driven to challenge my current way of thinking, and are by nature the intellectual forces one is keen to admire and respect.

Dreaming of a crisp fall night all gathered around the mountaintop camp fire, these are the men whose experience of life I’d wish to hear told.

Sam Maloof, James Krenov, Jeff Miller, Paul Sellers, John Bogdanovich, David Finck

How about you?

34 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5285 posts in 1918 days

#1 posted 10-31-2013 11:54 AM

Norm first Sam second, then again maybe it was my grandfather first for interesting me in wood working in the first place. Not that he did anything spectacular in terms of what he turned out, but he had a shop with most of the basic tools and that’s what really got me going.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Woodbum's profile


833 posts in 3263 days

#2 posted 10-31-2013 12:45 PM

Peter and John Hall, Gustav Stickley, Charles and Henry Greene, Norm Abram, Sam Maloof, David Marks, William Morris, Graham Blackburn, my Dad, Thomas Lie Nielsen, Oscar Onsrud, Darrell Peart, Frank Lloyd Wright, William Ng. Not necessarily in any particular order and certainly not a complete list.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View 489tad's profile


3469 posts in 3209 days

#3 posted 10-31-2013 01:10 PM

I just look at the project page here. Watching Norm certainly got me started.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15690 posts in 2816 days

#4 posted 10-31-2013 01:29 PM

My dad and grandpa for work ethic and attention to detail. Chris Schwarz for handtools, then Paul Sellers. Norm for making it look easy. Roy Underhill pulls it all together.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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Gene Howe

11059 posts in 3626 days

#5 posted 10-31-2013 01:40 PM

Abrams, Stickley, Marks, and our own Paul Miller (shipwright).

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View PaulDoug's profile


1643 posts in 1901 days

#6 posted 10-31-2013 01:43 PM

Smitty_Cabinetshop beat me to it. My Dad was my mentor and inspiration. He was a jack of all trades and the best way to get something done by him was to tell him you didn’t think he could do it. Everything I build or work on, in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “how would Dad have done this, or is this good”. The other inspiration I had was my high school wood shop teacher. I wish he was alive so I could look him up and say thank you.

I know that is not what you were looking for in this thread, but I don’t really following the pros enough to name any. I know there are great one and I love to search the internet and look at things built but I never seem to remember who the builder was. Sad, my bad.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1251 posts in 1911 days

#7 posted 10-31-2013 02:03 PM

Great subject!

In chronological order:
Our neighbour Holger who at 88 still made beautiful tables made from driftwood found at the Northe Sea
The blacksmith Thomas Nørgaard who taugt me the true quality of working hard to learn
Leif Andersen who taugt at a woodworking school i attended over a summer. First and only person I have met that could stand behind a lathe and teach how to turn correctly
Hans J. Wegner. For being both a skilled craftman, an artist and a true intelectual.
Matias Wandel. For being so truly nerdy and innovative
Paul Sellers. Because he is so experienced I can just watch him work for hours

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

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2490 days

#8 posted 10-31-2013 02:21 PM

My father for the practical application of woodworking, and my mother for the artistic and design side of life (including wood working). Growing up on a farm, my father did wood working, mechanics, fencing, and my all time personal favorite of throwing hay, as a matter of course and without any fanfare—he just went out and did whatever was required to be done. After that, everything and every one else is reference material.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View SirTonka's profile


67 posts in 1962 days

#9 posted 11-01-2013 10:14 AM

Have enjoyed reading these so far, you guys are fortunate to have influential family members and local mentors to draw inspiration from, hope to see more posts, we each have a story to tell.

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3137 days

#10 posted 11-01-2013 10:41 AM

Good thread. I will search on some of the names that I haven’t heard of before.

No particular order:

Green and Green
Hal Taylor
High school shop teacher,
Darrell Peart
Benji Reyes

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Wolfdaddy's profile


300 posts in 2032 days

#11 posted 11-01-2013 11:13 AM

My dad was responsible for instilling a love of woodworking in me. I grew up swinging a hammer and getting plenty of black fingernails :)
As soon as I was tall enough I learned how to run a bandsaw and a RAS. These were the things that made me want to work with my hands when I grew up.
As far as other inspirations go, there are knd of a lot. To name a few, in no particular order, Tom Fidgen, of, James Krenov, Darrell Peart, Derek Cohen, and lots of people on LJs and one or two other forums I visit on occasion.
As a side note, I actually first became aware of LJs while reading Tom Fidgen’s blog.
I don’t have anywhere near the same skills or talent as anyone listed, but I do have aspirations.

-- "MOM! I think there's something under our house! I'm gonna need a jackhammer, a fish bowl, some air tanks, and maybe a few pipes."

View shopdog's profile


578 posts in 3683 days

#12 posted 11-01-2013 01:02 PM

My friend Tim Britt, a cabinetmaker that taught me a lot, while he paid me to work for him.
Another friend, Avra Cohen, who showed me how to do seemingly impossible (to me) techniques.

And for inspiration…Wharton Esherick, a long dead craftsman/artist. I visit his museum every couple of years in Paoli, PA. I always come home with new ideas.

-- Steve--

View SirTonka's profile


67 posts in 1962 days

#13 posted 11-01-2013 11:39 PM

shopdog, Wharton Esherick was an amazing man, what a legend. Thank you for sharing the link.

View RPhillips's profile


1237 posts in 2033 days

#14 posted 11-02-2013 12:01 AM

Well, let’s see. For me first most, my Dad. While the pieces that my Dad crafted aren’t of Green & Greene quality, they were made with a lot of heart and established in me that anything is possible if you try.

Next up would have to be Ray and Norm, they have been and inspiration since I was a kid watching them on PBS. With the internet, Blogs and You-Tube, and I have found very good instruction from William Ng, Marc Spagnuolo, Paul Sellers, Chris Schwarz, and Laney Shaughnessy. they have provided me with detailed information pertaining to exactly what I want to know and shows me exactly how to do it.

I have also learned a ton from my fellow LJ’s. Joining this site has been one of the best things that I could have done. It’s opened a gateway of knowledge that I hope that I can expand on and pass on.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

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Kaleb the Swede

1875 posts in 2167 days

#15 posted 11-02-2013 01:05 AM

I would have to say Gary Bennett Knox. He thinks like an artist more than a woodworker. His ideas and interpretations are really captivating.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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