I like making things.  I can sometimes do a pretty fair job of it but it takes a lot of effort and time.  20160611_213715

One of the things that I like to do is woodworking.  When I make something out of wood I have to make each piece.  Every part is cut out and shaped individually.  Every curve and turn is created from something that began its stay with me as square stock. 

The woodworker almost never works with perfect material and has to consider how each flaw in the stock will add or detract from the final construction.  He must consider the grain patterns of each piece before every cut.  The direction and shape of grain in each part defines the way that your tools are applied and changes the result.  Even for something tiny this is a constant process of evaluation and decision making.  Understanding the flow of the wood and how your touch will affect it.

Often I sit for many minutes just observing the wood before I bring the tool to it.  I run my hands over the wood and feel it’s warmth.  I feel the grain patterns and the shape.  The bumps and ridges that tell me what will happen when I apply a blade.

As I work the wood I think about the place it’s going to fit into the 20160611_213613overall piece.  I figure out which parts will show and which will be hidden.  I think about the person that I’m making the piece for and how they will perceive it. 

I think about how the tool will affect the wood and how the wood will respond to each cut. 

I think about each joint and how it will fit together.  I think about each connector and whether a screw will be visible in the final piece or whether it will be hidden.  I think about how it will interact with the piece and calculate loads and stresses that will affect it. 20160611_213407

As I finish whatever I’m working on I consider how to sand and smooth each part of it.  I think about which tool marks need to be removed and which adds aesthetics to the piece that I want to keep.   Especially when working with traditional tools.

I think about whether a part will be painted or stained and how everything that I do will affect that.

Mostly though, I think about my love for the person that I’m building for.

The piece should reflect that love.


It’s not an easy process but it’s a worthy one. So, when people ask me, “Hey, can you build a box…” the answer is almost always, “no.”


3 thoughts on “Made

  • June 13, 2016 at 9:00 am

    This is beautiful uncle Tommy. What you made for Samuel and I still hangs in our home because of how important it is to me. I love you and the how hard you work to create something beautiful and unique to the person you intend to give it to. Samantha still has the jewelry boxes that you gave us as children. (She has them all since I don’t wear much). But I saw them yesterday and it makes me so happy to know that things that were crafted by you are going to be stories for our children.


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