Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Parts and Pieces....
[caption id="attachment_35" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Early Efforts..."][/caption]
I didn't start out wanting to build really big, really fine homes...it just sort of happened. My uncle had an old Chris Craft cabin cruiser boat which I truly loved. Probably that influence led to building some real simple (and poorly constructed) toy boats down in the basement of our home in Illinois. I was probably six or eight. The "bug" bit pretty hard and before I knew it I was carving, in a rough sort of way, gun stocks for the other kids in the neighborhood. Early attempts at staining the gun stocks was a real mess, but the guns were better than anything else we could get our hands on!
Next was the lathe. The same uncle that had the neat cabin cruiser had this wonderful lathe he taught me how to use. You guessed it - I talked my parents into buying me a brand new Sears lathe for Christmas. The bowl and the candlestick to the right were both done when I was around fourteen.
Basketball intervened in this apprentice cabinetmaker's life. When you are 6' 4" and not yet driving the coaches have a few things to say about where you will be spending your time. Though sidetracked, I never got over my love for working with my hands. In shop class I built a maple step stool, dry sink and large swivel mirror. The quality was improving but still not up to my expectations.
Growing to 6' 8" meant that my love of wood was going to be directed towards the hardwoods of a basketball floor at least through the end of high school and maybe into college. Not much production out of the 'ole woodshop happened because of a nice career in college basketball. But I never lost my love for working with wood!
Right out of college I married Molly - the love of my life, who inherited a rather large woodchuck. She knew woodworking was part of the package and her family asked my father and me to produce three large wooden fountains, and a number of French flower boxes for our wedding reception. Big weddings in small towns take on an extravagance all their own. Ours was no exception. The fountains were probably eight feet across and fully functioning.
Once Molly learned that I was reasonably handy she began to ask me to make things. This check-out desk for her store was no exception. She may be the most creative person I know, and she knew exactly what to tell me to build to serve her customers.
My workshop is my retreat. Often after I work all day out with the guys on the jobsite I will end up in the Garage building or re-finishing something. Here are a couple of recent works. Both of my daughters liked the black hutch so well that they each asked for a smaller, entertainment center version. One sits in Whitney and Max's home in Dallas; one sits in Shelby and Jake's home in San Diego.
This actually was my second attempt at Garden gates (there is a set of two). The first ones were made out of oak but I forgot to take into account that the center core of the gate would swell when wet! How depressing to work so hard on something only to have it swell and break apart! We got it right the second time.
Below, furniture you can live in. A lifelong love of cabinetry and craftsmanship evolved into wonderful projects like this. No, we don't build this out in the Garage - it takes a little more space!