Regional Chapter Coordinator
It's hard to believe that it's been almost two weeks since the Popular Woodworking / Lie-Nielsen Cincinnati Handtool Event. As a relative newcomer to the scene, I must admit I was a little star struck with the opportunity to meet Thomas Lie-Nielsen, Chris Schwarz (Popular Woodworking), John Hoffman (Lost Art Press), John Economaki (Bridge City Tools, Ron Brese (Brese Planes) and George Walker (Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design video) and many others. It was also really great to finally meet SAPFM members David Conley, Mark Arnold and Robert Mustain, among several others. As I have written in previous posts, I have no shop and no tools, just shelves full of books, magazines and , a head full of big ideas and a heart full of even bigger dreams. Corny but true. Undoubtedly I made a fool of myself with my wide eyes and silly smile. I can only offer in my defense that this is what happens to a man when he has no social life and no tools. I believe this is what Thoreau meant when he wrote about men who lead lives of "quiet desperation."
As it turns out, Schwarz, Nielsen and Economaki aren't really rock stars (although I did get a few autographs), just friendly down-to-earth guys who clearly love what they do and clearly enjoy sharing what they've learned. Mustain, who asked me what styles of furniture I liked to make, seamed genuinely shocked and even dismayed when I told him that I don't actually do any woodworking. After thinking about it, he realized that he had spent many years living overseas, during which he had no tools or shop either. He then offered some words of encouragement that I greatly appreciated. Conley and Arnold we're especially generous with their time, attention and advice and patient with my vague ramblings.
I came away from the weekend truly thankful that SAPFM provides the opportunity for the weekend woodworker (or in my case someday woodworker) to gather with the accomplished professionals in a way that I believe is rarely seen in other fields of interest. This is the very reason I accepted the challenge to start the Gateway Chapter. If you have a love of period furniture and you're not already a member of SAPFM, you may be asking yourself whether joining is worth the annual membership fee. I was asking myself that same question three or four years ago. If I had any remaining doubts before the Cincinnati event, they’re gone. If you’re not yet a member, come join us in September (stay tuned, details on the event are soon to come) in St. Louis, or any other SAPFM event and see what it's all about. I'll have a membership application waiting for you.