As father’s day rolls by I am reminded and thankful for having an awesome Dad. I remember how hard my Dad worked on his hardware and lumber company….a few crazy months when he bought the new computer system waking up early in the morning about 6:00 am and getting home late at night about 10:00 pm …sometimes mulling over the computer manuals while at home.
He was an expert on wood products and learning woodworking from him started very early for me. I am sure I heard his explanation of how wood fibers were straws the first time when I was 5 years old and many times during my youth, then later hearing my college professor in my material class give the same description.
I remember taking trips with my mom and dad up to Wilson NC to see the furniture auctions, here I learned the difference between French Country, Italian, English, and many different styles of furniture. My grandmother also had wonderful taste in furniture and could blend different styles of furniture very skillfully in her home. My dad had another woodworker make me a desk….after staring at it every morning I realized there was an inconstancy in the way he did the edge banding. Once you know something is wrong in a design it is always there staring back at you. Soon after I remember telling my dad that I wanted to design the next piece of furniture.
I had been learning different skills from hammers, nails, scroll saw, and then on to drills and hand-jig saws. As always my dad helped me with the things I needed help with but allowed me to work on my own as much as possible as we went along. Soon my dad was requesting I draw my designs and write up a cut list before heading to the store to get my materials. It helped that I had done inventory during my Christmas breaks and had a good understanding of hardware and lumber sizing norms.
I loved sitting with my dad and talking about the best approach to my next woodworking project. I started learning about woodworking when I was around 8 years old, and started creating my own designs in late middle school to early high school. Later I graduated from NCSU School of Design with a degree in Industrial Design and a minor in Business.
Many years later I helped develop a woodshop division at my family’s hardware and lumber company. Helped with coordination with the builder while the building was being built; designed the signage for the building; researched and found tools; developed the layout for tools; created safety guidelines with OSHA standards; helped develop process for working with customers that eased transitions between the sales counter and the woodworking shop; and later helped develop new woodworking products.
Currently I am working on developing my own business using my skills in woodworking, graphics and video. My dad and I still have conversations about how to best to solve a problem and we both listen to each other. I am still learning from my dad… he is not just a wonderful woodworker but an amazing person.