I was recently asked who my mentors were. I think this person was expecting me to say names like Stickley, Greene and Greene, or Maloof. While these men do provide inspiration, I never knew them or worked with them. My mentors are a little closer to home.
When my father-in-law introduced me to woodworking with the old adage “measure twice and cut once”, I never imagined that 40 years later I would still be making furniture. Over the years Marvin Burk has provided great advice, pointers and encouragement when I needed it.
Twenty-five years ago, while unemployed, my friend Michael suggested that I “do your woodworking” for a living. Since I had no idea what that meant, I looked for a job in woodworking.
This lead me to Shulla Woodcraft and five years of woodworking everyday with a great group of guys, a couple who have become lifelong friends.
The shop manager, Terry Udelhofen, was a firm believer in “see one, do one, teach one”. He gave me the chance at every turn to learn from him all the different processes of production woodworking. Then he’d have me do that step myself for a while, and when the next newbie walked in the door I would teach them.
My favorite thing Terry taught me is this. When assembling things that have been marked with lines that must match during the glue up it always takes two taps to line it up right. Even if you use one tap to knock it off the line and the second to put it back. Always two taps. I remember this, and giggle, every time I glue something up and make my two taps. Thanks Terry for still making me laugh all these years later.
Thanks to the encouragement of Marvin, Michael, Terry and the support of Wendy I have now made over 1000 pieces of furniture, and have hundreds of happy clients. Thanks everyone for helping me find my way to my passion.