I am fortunate enough to be a man with one love and two passions: my wife Christine, writing, and woodworking. And I really cannot talk about my woodworking unless I first talk about my writing, because in a sense the one led me to the other.
In school I always wrote better than my peers, and as the years went by I became more and more interested in the thought of pursuing it as a career. For a long time, as a young adult and even for the first half of my marriage, I considered myself as one who had two jobs: the one that paid the rent, and the one I pursued in the wee hours of the morning before going to work. I wrote quite a few short stories and two full-length novels in those years, getting up at 3:45 each morning and writing from 5:00 to 8:00 each morning before going to work. And, in all honesty, had I succeeded in that venture, it is not likely that I ever would have picked up a woodworking tool.
What led me to the woodworking in the beginning was a simple need for an item I could not buy elsewhere. In the first instance it was some simple wooden speaker stands that I could see in my mind’s eye, but not in any store I visited! Later, the projects became more involved, as did my involvement in the craft itself, until it had gotten to a point where I began to view it as a vocation. For twenty-five years I had done nothing but work a job I hated and write in the wee hours of the morning, because I did not think there was anything else I could be passionate about. In 1991 I made an elaborate double-pedestal computer desk, using only a skill saw and an electric drill, and I thought then that I’d like to do it for a living, if only I could find a way to get a foot in the door.
I got my chance the following year when we got our home. “Let me get a table saw and some tools,” I told Christine, “and I will make for us something fine. And if I am successful with this, I will turn it into a business.” So, that is what I have done these last 20 years, and the writing was set aside, until my friend asked me to join him in this blogging adventure.
Mine is a business that runs on old concepts: integrity, quality, and time-honored joinery and woodworking techniques, some of which have been used for thousands of years, and are still employed in the finest shops because of their superiority. Although I do use power tools, every item I make comes from my soul, and the touch of my hands is everywhere, including the finish which I always apply by hand, using oil whenever I can, both because of the soft glow it imparts and because a hand-rubbed finish is always a labor of love–for the wood and the craft and all those who came before.
Recently, I have returned to an old love, custom picture framing, but with a decided twist, because I make my frames entirely from scratch, using the actual wood (to state just one example, I use Honduras Mahogany, not “mahogany finish”) and every one of them is a labor of love. It’s a blind leap of faith, testing whether it is still possible to sell a quality product in an age in which people increasingly seek only a low price and ignore the decline in value that must necessarily accompany that “bargain” price.
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