It seems that most of my work begins with a need (either real or imagined) and then my mind begins to design something to fulfill it. The other main inspiration would be the challenge of the project. Perhaps I read about a technique someone else has done or see a picture and it challenges me to try it in my own work.
I have about half of a 3 car garage. In the single car side I have my work bench permanently placed along with two assembly areas. The tools I use the most are close at hand and the large, power equipment is on wheels and moved as needed.
I’d like to think that whatever my latest project is, that’s my most successful! I’ve attached an image of what I call the “Ram’s Horn Table” which was successful in that I was allowed lots of artistic freedom. My dining chair was accepted into the Design In Wood competition so that makes it a success too. As far as picture frames go the attached, hand carved, 22kt. frame is my best.
There’s no greater joy than completing a project and feeling as if you fulfilled all of the requirements for it. This is especially true when a client tells me that. Frustrations are part of the creative process, the wood may not behave as I think it should, tools may balk, ideas may not pan out, and so on; but the challenge of overcoming these things is what keeps me at it.
My favorite tool is my Lie-Nielsen, bronze smoothing plane. It’s probably the best money can buy and I was able to afford with the proceeds from a job. My initial response to this question was “my hands”. Without the ability to use them properly even the best tool is worthless!
My radio is on constantly. Primarily Christian Rock because I get inspiration from it. Second favorite is classic rock from the 60’s. With either genre I’ll generally sing along and if the song’s particularly moving will stop work to sing.
Unless you’re in that rare percentage of those who can make a full time living from this craft be content to just enjoy the process of what you’re doing. My focus is on challenging myself with any project that comes my way. Marketing is a full time endeavor and I’d just as soon build on a smaller scale. If you’re after a full time, production shop your focus will have to match that. My personal goal is to continue to challenge and improve my work. I’ve adopted the saying that all I want to do is be able to feed my wood addiction with my craft.
I can’t think of a favorite, I have many websites in my favorites from noted woodworkers that I go to for inspiration when I’m in the planning stages. Fine Woodworking has technical forums that I use too.
- I also have a blog where I post tutorials and progress on my work: http://woodworksbyjohn.blogspot.com
- My on-line portfolio can be found at: www.woodworksbyjohn.com
- And I have one additional website devoted to a custom pistol case venture, it’s located at: http://www.contemporarypistolcases.com
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