The seeds to my life as a furniture maker were planted by my father and grandfather when I was a young boy. My father enjoyed building wooden boats, and I remember "helping" him by sanding the rosewood gunwales. I also enjoyed working with my grandfather who built all kinds of furnishings, odds-and-ends, and toys out of wood. I am forever grateful to these men for giving me the exposure to and the basic hand-tool skills for working in this wonderful medium.
As time progressed and my experiences in life changed, the satisfaction of working wood with hand tools never left me. A couple of decades later, the pull to build things out of wood was so strong that I decided to change course from a career scientist in the high-pressure biotech industry to that of a humble woodworker in my own small shop. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had finally come home!
Using only the hand tools of the masters from centuries ago really appealed to me and I wanted to learn how they did it. My road to discovering their tools, techniques and processes began during those early years in my father's and grandfather's shops. Now it is continually fed by an insatiable appetite for books about traditional woodworking, and finding experienced folks to give me advice. To this day, I am still learning new things about building beautiful furniture with only hand tools. This way of woodworking has also influenced my thinking processes when creating furnishings for people. Instead of being forced to think within the limitations of my machines, I am much freer to build just what the client wants because the skills I've developed with hand tools allows it. I simply see solutions to problems in a different way.
The Kentucky Crafted program has enabled me to show the wonderful craft of hand tool woodworking to a much broader audience. This past year, I introduced my own style of rocking chair at Kentucky Crafted Market in Lexington. Building these unique beauties has been a true labor of love. Each one takes about 170 hours to make and is custom fit to the client. The creative solutions I use combined with skill and a firm grasp of hand tools are what makes the chairs that provide ultimate comfort to the owner.