I have always enjoyed designing, creating, and building, and from a young age my parents taught me about craftsmanship and the natural beauty of wood. I spent my Saturday mornings watching “This Old House” and “The New Yankee Workshop” on TV, and these early lessons are constantly ringing in my memories.
It is difficult for me to pinpoint a time in my life where I started woodworking or at least working with my hands. I grew up in a house that was constantly being renovated, making me a weekend warrior well before my prime. I also fondly remember walking through the forest and trees with my dad and him telling me and my brothers about the different species and how the lumber inside the trees would look. We also always burned wood for warmth in the winter. If I think about it, I can still smell freshly cut red oak and feel a cool spring morning on my skin just like when we would split fire wood - a fondly cherished memory.
Creative pursuits have been in my life as long as I can remember. I’ve been drawn to art of all types from an early age. Coming up in school, I started playing the tuba at the age of 12, and I haven’t put it down yet! I’ve completed a Bachelors of Music in tuba performance from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) with post graduate studies at Butler University (Indianapolis, IN). I still perform regularly with my brass quintet, The Unifour Brass Ensemble. Music has been a pillar in my life. Without it, I wouldn’t have met my wife, Melanie, or be where I am. Ensuring that schools - especially in rural or underprivileged areas - have instruments that they need is a passion of mine. Every purchase of handcrafted items helps me to afford to buy wood (often exotic species) to make instruments for school programs at no cost to the school.
I started wood turning in February 2018 and realized that this was something I had to pursue. A coworker had a lathe and invited me to try wood turning. I bought my own lathe a week later. I started out by making claves, a Latin American percussion instrument. At first I was just making square blocks round, and it made me happy!!
From there I began making cups and bowls and bigger cups and bowls. Soon it became large scale turning projects, functional furniture, and artistic pieces. One of the things that has drawn me so close with wood turning specifically, is the fact that there is no waste. I use trees removed from urban settings or from local lumber yards that practice sustainable forestry. I use the main portions of the wood for their intended purpose of making something beautiful, but the scrap cutoffs get used in my smoker for some fantastic NC BBQ and the shavings get used for compost for my garden or used in animal stalls at a local farm.
It’s been an interesting ride getting to this point and I’m glad you’re joining me along the way! It’s never a dull journey.