After 23 years of controlling airplanes and training air traffic controllers, I retired. One week after my retirement I went to work training air traffic controllers as a contract trainer. Almost 4 months to the day after starting my new job I was laid off. One evening while eating dinner, I explained to my lovely wife of 32 years, how this was Gods way of telling me to pursue my dream. My dream of building Windsor chairs along with period and custom furniture. My dream to teach and write about woodworking. Without hesitation she looked up from her plate, looked me in the eye and softly said, "While I have no doubt you hear voices, It's not God. You need to get a job"! Bazinga!
My first experience with woodworking was as a wee lad in the Cub Scouts where we built book ends. I then progressed to childhood carpentry, specializing in tree houses and forts. Then came junior high school industrial arts class, where I built a lap desk, of which I still have to this day. During my teenage years I worked on a carpentry crew for a couple summers at one of the city parks. After leaving college I served a four year apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker and worked in that trade for nearly 15 years before becoming an air traffic controller.
Almost 17 years ago my friend Jesse Moton re-ignited my passion for woodworking. Jesse made very nice pieces in his chicken coupe converted into a shop. He was a big fan of Norm Abram and the New Yankee Workshop, as a result I was too. At one point I remember watching Roy Underhill on The Woodwright's Shop and saying, "I will never use hand tools if there is a power tool available". You know what they say about never say never? Now days the only time Matilda (my big green European Multi-machine) gets a work out is when I rough out material.
It was a fall vacation to New England that set me onto the path to building chairs. While Carol and I were navigating a foggy coastal road in Maine we happened upon a Windsor chair shop. The shop was housed in an 18th century barn. The 18th century house was used as a showroom to display the craftsman's work. It was there, in that shop in Maine, that I realized I had to build Windsor chairs.