This interview with Wheaties is from May, 2015
What is your “inspiration story” — where did your interest in woodworking all begin?
At a very young age my brothers and I would build club houses and tree houses . Made a few shadow boxes in Jr High, but my real love for woodworking came in 9th grade shop class . In 1969, I built a floor model book shelve out of Mahogany. It’s about 4 ft wide by 4 ft tall by 1 ft deep. I still have it . When I applied the finish and the grain came to it’s true beauty, I was hooked . I made an end table after that , which I still have. Then some smaller projects. After graduation I started making mirror frames and then full wall cabinets for people . Up to this point I had no shop. I had to work from a spare bed room . Finally In 1985 I remarried the most amazing woman . We moved to Malvern , Oh . I built my first bay , 15 ft x 28 ft . Added a second bay the same size to the right side of the building . The third bay was add to the back of the first bay 15 ft x 20 ft . Then added an office and bath room 8 ft x 28 ft . Last a 20 ft x 23 ft storage room behind bay number 2 and office. Now I have room for the tools and and the projects.
Who is your woodworking mentor and why?
My woodworking Mentor was the Wood shop helper in High School, Jerry Mimna. At the time I thought he was just messing with me, making me sand and sand and the use pumice . But he was teaching me how to properly finish a project.
Power or hand tools? … and why
Mostly power tools because of time limits by customers. With my handicap situation it just makes it easier .When I get to the end of a project I still sand it by hand to get the maximum grain effect.
What is your dream project and when do you think you will tackle the challenge?
My dream project is to build a dining room table and chairs . As far as when I have no idea , it depends on my health .
What is the greatest gift that this craft gives you?
I get about 3 hrs a day to do things , mow the grass , hunt for artifacts , walk . But when I’m in my shop I forget about all the pain and illness in my life and I am Bruce for 3 hrs .
What are your “words of wisdom” that you want to pass on to others, especially to beginners?
Listen to the old timers; they have very valuable insights and information that is not in books . Read, listen, watch, and then apply . Don’t be afraid to add your own touches to your project . Experiment, you have endless supply of ideas . Each piece you make will be unique to your style .Have fun and keep the chips flying .
-- Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit