I was (and remain) one of those kids who was fascinated with machines. As my late mother would have confirmed, one year I got a new 10 speed bike for my birthday. It was apart within the hour, spread all over the garage. I don't think I even rode it around the block before dismantling it. It's really too bad so few woodworkers have a background in machine work. By the time I was in my teens, I could weld, run a lathe and read a micrometer; all skills I use nearly every day working wood.
After a stint in the Air Force I went to school on the GI bill acquiring a degree in Government with a minor in Economics from the California State University at Sacramento. One of the highlights of college was doing an Internship at the California Legislature. I spent a few months working in March Fong Eu's office when she was in the California Assembly. Great fun.
I came to woodworking fairly late in life. One day a cabinet maker friend called to see if I'd like to build a wooden staircase for a good client of his. I, of course, said "SURE" and just like that launched my professional woodworking career. Yes, if you're wondering, it happened just like that.
That was 1978, the year I began building staircases in Southern California. I've built several hundred projects so far, including my share of one of a kind custom designs. Starting in 1995, I began writing for Fine Woodworking
and Fine Homebuilding Magazines. About that same time I began teaching woodworking classes at Cerritos College. It was great fun. I miss it a lot; especially all my friends there.
In 1998, I began to travel with the Woodworking Shows teaching seminars. I hadn't realized how much I love to travel. I just never had the time and money at the same time. I've been off the road for several years, but wow what an adventure. Travel does take its toll, but Frequent Flier miles are a wonderful perk! We've been to Italy twice and Paris once business class, no less -- on miles!
I have some 60 or so articles in print now, including an article on building a replica of Thomas Jefferson's writing desk for Fine Woodworking. The Smithsonian commissioned me to build a replica for their collection. The replica I built for them is now at the Smithsonian's Castle Collection in Washington, DC. Taunton Press sponsored the project with a very generous grant. Here's a link to see the original. In 2000, I was named contributing editor for Fine Woodworking.
My first book from Linden Publishing called The Complete Manual of Wood Bending covers steam bending, bent lamination and curved milling encompassing much of what I've learned the hard way about working with curves for almost 30 years. It's been in print since 2002 and much to my delight (and that of my publisher) it's still in print and selling briskly. (See Bookstore Page).
My second for Taunton Press titled Treasure Chests; The Legacy of Extraordinary Boxes was published in 2001. The softcover version is still in print, I'm happy to say. I bought the last copies of the hardbound edition. I have a few for sale on the bookstore page.
In 2004 my third book was published, also by Taunton Press titled The Workbench; A Complete Guide to Creating Your Perfect Bench. The book is doing very well indeed ten years out. One of the workbenches I built for the workbench book appears on the cover of Fine Woodworking's Tools and Shops issue 2003.
These days I travel a lot less than I used to, but I still enjoy visiting woodworker's groups nationwide teaching workshops and giving presentations. If your club might be interested, shoot me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
My wife Anne and I live in Capistrano Beach, CA. It's a little beach town on the coast about half way between Los Angeles and San Diego. I do a bit of surfing at San Onofre, Anne cooks amazing dinners on the beach and we take our chocolate Lab CoCo along so she can body surf, dig holes in the sand and throw sand on our dinner in the process. OUR ANCIENT RV LUCY GETS US THERE IN STYLE.
If that weren't enough, I still maintain my own woodworking shop specializing in staircases, furniture, boats and assorted gizmos.