Making things was always in the cards. Growing up around busy parents with large gardens, animals, sewing, cooking, and a father who was a carpenter, inspiration to create was everywhere. Moving from pounding nails in trees when I could barely hold a hammer, to working summers as a carpenter, the ground work was laid.
Of course, I had to try to make a living in a whitewater paddling kind of way for as long as I could, but eventually I had the need to create. It was helping out my wife when she was in grad school, on a field season trip to Tanzania, that I came across a man in the village we were staying in. He was standing at a pile of beautiful, wide, rough boards on sawhorses ankle deep in curled shavings from the bench plane he was using to flatten the boards. A simple canopy of branches formed a kind of pergola above him shading him from the equatorial sun. Having been very impressed with the simple, well built furniture and cabinets I had seen in the village I stopped to ask what he was making, “Table-tennis table” he said. It just struck me at that moment that I wanted to build things. Here we were no electricity or power tools, and he was just going for it with what he had. And why? Because thats just how you got things done.
Living in a city at the time hand tools were the only way to do neighbor friendly woodworking, and working with them taught me a tremendous amount about wood and good joinery. Bookcases, tables, bed frames and armoires for people in my wife’s department and I was off. 25 years later the space has changed (no longer the basement of a duplex) and I do have power tools, but the inspiration to build is as strong as ever.