Sunday, July 24, 2022

Back in the saddle....

It's almost time to get.... 

OK, maybe not exactly, but I'm definitely on the mend. 

If you've noticed that I've been a little quiet lately, it's only because things happened over here that were out of my control. And I really didn't have a clean head to blog about anything.... modern pharmaceuticals have a way of blurring my ability to write anything coherent. 

 I had a little health scare recently, that included a nasty little surgery. 

And I'll be honest - I think 40+ years of being in contact with toxic materials like wood finishes, caustic fumes, toxic wood products and all the miscellaneous substances that woodworkers encounter every day made that surgery necessary. Of course, I'm no doctor, but there just wasn't a simple reason why my body took the hit that it did.

Luckily, my results were good, and I'll be back to normal (whatever that is!) soon. Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, and especially to my sister and brother-in-law who helped me recover in record time. I appreciate all of you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022


There have been some big changes over here, and a few of you have written, asking about them.

 And we all know the old adage - nothing is as constant as change. 

I officially retired from teaching a few weeks ago, and luckily - found the best person to take the reins at the shop. 

Say hello to the new owner of Wood It Is! - Jeff Sher has been working with wood for decades, and has been teaching at the shop for a few years. He's smart, talented, and has the perfect personality for coaxing the best out of people.  

I couldn't be happier that he's going to take the school to the next level. His vision for upcoming classes, combined with an openness to hear everyone's opinions about what they want to learn, puts him at the top of the teaching list, in my book. 

I've thought long and hard about what it takes to be a good instructor.  Yes, skill is right up there; you have to know how to design and build quality pieces in order to help people learn how to do the same. Everyone runs into problems from time to time, but the key is knowing how to solve those issues quickly, and with good results. 

And also - I think this is awfully important in teaching - you never want to make your students feel like they've done something that can't be fixed. Or that they've asked a "dumb" question. There are no dumb questions. 

Encouragement is the greatest motivator.

So I hope you'll welcome Jeff into the mix, and consider taking a class with him someday. (He has a few coming up at the end of this month.)

As for me - I'm going back to being a maker. I've moved some tools into a new shop, and look forward to getting back to building furniture again soon. 

But - I'm REALLY looking forward to work with clay again. It's been ages since I've thrown a pot, or glazed a tile. But this wooden mechanical creation by Oliver Pett got me revved up again. 

So if you don't find me at the shop, you'll probably spy me near the slab roller or the wheel. 

Trust me, there are enough designs in my head to fill up a decade or two! 

Speaking of that, here are a few memorable moments of classes at the shop. 

We've had great artists who share their insane talents. Like Master Carver Dennis, who takes students beyond their wildest woodworking imaginations.

And Len - who was always so well prepared, good natured and genuinely cared about his students and their work. 

The classes out at Nellis were always fun!

You know what we did a lot of?... laughing and making friends, all while building. 

Sometimes it could be intense,

 but in the end, I don't think you'll find a single students who didn't enjoy it... the camaraderie, the cool projects, and the skills. 

It's all about the skills. 

Some people even fall in love!

Anyway, I've loved every minutes of my 28 years of teaching - so thanks for the memories!

By the way - this student's course evaluation is one of my favorites.  

Thanks everyone - don't let your (design) guard down... keep making beautiful work.