are you trying to sell on your website?
My goal for the website is to use it like a brochure, updating it
often, allowing new people to find out about my work through web
search engines, and surfing. My goal is to further expand my customer
base, locating collectors that first see my work through the Internet.
I am learning that people will not call me, or email, before they
have first looked at my website many times, trying to decide whether
to contact me.
My main business
is Commissioned Art-Furniture, building an item in accordance
to someone's fairly specific need. So, I hope to use the website
to sell my abilities so that others will want to collect my work.
I buy Something From You?
You can email me and we will discuss your ideas and what you would
like to purchase. You can also visit the retail stores that have
a few examples of my work. Internet based selling is not a high
percentage of my work, so I don't have the ability to do secure
selling over the website. I do have a PayPal account that can
be utilized if that is a method you would like to use. Normally,
I receive a personal check and when the check clears, I ship the
work. If it is a commissioned project involving a long process
of labor, I will ask for 50% down, and progress payments as needed
for the situation.
you Learn Woodworking?
I grew up in the home of a woodshop teacher, so my dad was the
first teacher. I remember having real tools and a workbench in
my bedroom where I experimented making things in wood. This was
before video games, or I might have gone another direction, who
knows? I enjoyed 4 years of High School Wood Shop Class, a dying
entity in this country. I have read magazines, books, and watched
anything on TV that provides instructional information about woodworking,
or furniture design. I have also attended the Mark Adams School
of Woodworking, which I highly recommend. The rest has been trial
and error, learning on my own.
your favorite Styles of work?
I can't say that I specifically like a style for its appearance.
I am more drawn to the romance and story behind a style, a person's
work, or a design movement. I am drawn to the people that made
the movement happen. For instance, I enjoy studying the thoughts
and work of Sam Maloof, and also of George Nakashima, who both
have inspired many ideas in my mind. I am mostly drawn to the
Arts & Crafts movement due to their original ideal of using
a network of self-employed artisans producing hand-made items
in their home shops for sale to the elite and Industry Giants
of England. Unfortunately, that movement's ideals seems to have
been more fiction than reality, but I like the idea of anyone
making anything by hand, without lots of employees, and schedules,
and computerized factory equipment. I am drawn to any item hand
made, whether sculpture, blacksmithing, canvas paintings, woodworking,
glass blowing, leather work, Luthier work, and so on. I am more
drawn to people's work that had the ability to design & build
their own work, not just drawing their ideas for others to build,
or for a factory to produce for them. Those are the types of style
movements that are inspiring to me.
you doing Scrimshaw?
My venture into Scrimshaw came from an invitation from a local
friend that told me about the art form and gave me a few spare
steer horns and told me how to get started. I then built a powder
horn for my black powder shooting hobby, because I needed something
to hold the black powder. I decided to decorate this first horn
by spending about an hour scratching some artwork on it, following
the directions offered by my friend, taking the powder horn the
next morning to a Mountain Man Rendezvous. I had so many compliments
on my powder horn and scrimshaw artwork that I was encouraged
to do more them, and so it was just an accidental process. My
powder horns have gotten so expensive with the large number of
hours it takes to do them now, that I generally only do them on
commission, and rarely have an unsold example to show, so I often
borrow them back from the owner if I am attending an art show,
What role does woodworking play in your life?
This answer is in three parts:
1. Income production.
2. A Creative Outlet.
3. Personal "Niche" in this world.
First, I have
bills, so I need an income. Secondly, as I have tried to determine
what is "it" with woodworking that really gets me "going,"
I found that it is the process of "creating" that I
like the best. And lastly, I believe that all people are created
with a purpose, driven to live out their lives in a direction
that glorifies and exalts the Creator. Having that priority, finding
that "Niche", and living within that purpose is, in
my opinion, the success that all of us wish for.
that each of us has a special "thing" that we are good
at, something that is provided in our DNA by the Creator. For
me to pursue the woodworking path, I had to give up the idea of
making a lot of money, wearing suits to work, and striving for
a "management" position. I had to change my mindset
about what made me "important" in this culture, and
I discovered that serving the needs of the Creator was that path,
leaving the "importance" up to Him.
strives to get our kids to college so that they don't have to
do hard manual labor the rest of their lives. I too started out
in that direction. Our culture holds the ideal that we have "arrived"
only when we can hire out all of the manual labor we need, making
ourselves a "manager" of our estate. However, in my
own experience, it has been the manual labor that was the best
thing for my mind, and heart. For instance, I am left with little
thought of mischief when I get in the house after a long hard
day of manual labor. So, I decided to step in line with the Creator's
purpose for my life, and I believe at this point that it is woodworking.
Are you currently working on an interesting woodworking project?
I think for any of us who create something from scratch, whatever
we are working on is interesting, or we wouldn't put forth the
effort. For me, an interesting project involves a few key factors:
1. Is it complicated enough to challenge me in several ways? For
instance, throughout the project, I like to experience the sinking
feeling, "oh no, how do I do that?"
2. Is it something that families of my customers will fight each
other for, instead of selling at the estate sale?
3. Does it avoid, or minimize, the use of plywood?
4. Does it offer enough financial reward to pay for the bills
that will come in over the time I am working on the project? Sometimes,
this is the top priority.
I'm finishing up a Refined Rustic Dining Table and Carved Back
Chairs to complete an ensemble for the Western Design Conference
show in Cody, WY this September. This table and chair set will
match the Refined Rustic China Hutch already shown in Indoor Furniture
section. I have just finished a Sam Maloof-inspired walnut rocking
chair. I also just finished at George Nakashima-inspired slab
coffee table. I have started a Refined Rustic walnut Console Cabinet
with a Spalted Sycamore slab top. I have parts made for a Native-American
inspired Morris Chair. I have parts cut out for a Native-American
inspired dining chair. I also have a couple of powder horns started
that I am doing scrimshaw artwork on. I am working on a large
Bowie Knife with scrimshaw inlay on ivory. I have parts cut out
for a Refined Rustic Hall Tree with a Seat. Somewhere in that
mix, I need to retune my old 1972 GMC pickup as it miss-fires
once in a while. I also have an old 1963 Ford Galaxie that I try
to keep running. I only mow grass when it gets too dangerous to
walk through the yard.
your woodworking plans or goals over the coming years?
Long-Term planning is hard for me. I have many dreams, but doing
the planning is the hard part. I once heard myself say, "it
isn't the dreams that chart our course in life, it is rather the
decisions that we make." By that I mean that I may "dream"
to do a lot of things, but if I don't purpose to save and plan
to get to that point, then the dreams were just wasted thinking
I am "planning"
to establish a legacy of work that will have been the best and
most challenging work I could do at the time I did it. I am planning
to get a bigger wood planer. I am planning to get a bigger bandsaw.
I am planning to market my work to the point that I can pursue
the limits of my abilities, and not settle for the ordinary, or
repetitive things, to pay the current bills.
Most of my
long-term, and short-term, planning, is focused on trying to find
out where the Creator wants me to go. If I get to the end of this
present life and find that I only focused on my own dreams, without
first determining whether or not they were first the Creator's
purpose for my life, then the rest of eternity will be a disappointing
time for me in some respects. Have I found the right path? It
is too early to tell, but I am trying, dreaming, and planning
to get there.
What is my favorite tool?
I think that my favorite tool to use is probably the Hand Plane.
I don't use this tool as often as would be fun, because with deadlines
and bills, I tend to use a power tool in most situations if it
will do the job. However, the feel and sound of a thin curl of
hardwood from the blade of a hand plane is hard to beat when it
is adjusted correctly, sharpened right, pointed in the right direction,
and pushed with the right speed and amount of pressure, with the
grain of the wood running in the downward direction.
I have been
dreaming of making a few hand planes just for the "craft"
of it. David Marks (www.djmarks.com)
on his DIY Woodworks show did a great episode on building a hand
plane, so at some point, I intend to make a few, then the desire
to use it would be even greater.
several years a Hand Plane making course has been offered at the
Marc Adams School of Woodworking (www.marcadams.com)
in which I would be taught to make hand planes, including the
blades, so that is a dream I hope to fulfill someday.
I have been
ridiculed in the past by a few woodworkers for asserting that
a large-table jointer is necessary to make professional quality
furniture for sale these days. Despite the caustic comments, I
still believe that to be true. I used to build furniture without
a jointer, just a cabinet saw with a Forrest saw blade, and a
hand plane. However, after I put a 12" wide x 80" long
Grizzly carbide-toothed spiral cutting jointer in my shop, I was
ashamed at how I had in the past insisted to other woodworkers
that I did not need a jointer (www.grizzly.com/products/G9860ZX).
I definitely learned that I did. This tool is probably my favorite
power tool to use, although without my Grizzly 10" Cabinet
Saw, I wouldn't be able to use it. Future purchases will be a
larger thickness planer and a bigger bandsaw. A long-term dream
would be a wide-surfacing belt sander, which many small, professional
shops find to be very valuable to their work.