Dad's relationship with wood began when he was just a boy in Pennsylvania. He was always gathering wood usually from cigar boxes and making it into small wooden objects for members of his family. His father William, my grandfather, must have recognized the potential talent as he encouraged his son by providing the tools necessary to continue working wood as a hobby. Among the tools William bought his son was a $14.95 woodlathe from a 1936 Sears and Roebuck Catalog.
Dad's woodworking continued until he was a teenaged young man. WWII broke out in Europe and he enlisted in the Army as many did in those days. He served in five major battles of WWII. After the war, he came home to his wife and son and began to make a life and a living. His woodworking skills, learned as a young man, would be the means to supporting his family.
Dad worked at woodworking all of his life. He was a cabinetmaker, did commercial millwork, and finished his career as a patternmaker for the Glen Alden Coal Company. He was considered an expert woodturner as were many patternmakers of that era. In retirement he did expert antique restorations.
During his younger days, he built two houses for his family, houses for each of his two sons and their families, and several houses for other members of the family. Most of the fine furniture in his own home as well as the furniture in my home and that of my brother was made by him. At 75+ years old he still makes an exceptional piece of furniture and still does woodturning for enjoyment. He has now started to teach his grandson Ryan to turn wood.
About 8 years ago he gave me a table saw, a jointer, and an old Sears sander. These tools started me on the road to a very pleasurable hobby of making furniture. I enjoyed making furniture and made some of the furniture in my home. However, several years later, my father gave me that old Sears woodlathe which his father had given to him in 1936. I was instantly hooked on woodturning and have been doing woodturning exclusively ever since. Thanks Dad! Or maybe I should say, "Thanks Gramps!" Thank you both for providing me with a very enjoyable hobby which brings me much needed hours of relaxation.
Today, I turn for pleasure, sell turned pieces in several galleries in the upstate New York area, have published articles on woodturning in national magazines, teach woodturning to all who are interested, and have taught woodturning to children at a local Sears Store. I believe that Sears woodlathe my grandfather bought for his son back in 1936 was a very well-made investment.
I have recently returned that Sears lathe to my father so he could give it to his grandson Ryan.
If Ryan learns to turn wood on that lathe and experiences the same enjoyment when turning that I do, I hope he will say "thank you" some day, also by
DOING A GOOD TURN!
Dad passed away in April of 2011
at the age of 90