Woodworkers Resilient During Covid-19 Pandemic

   

   We contacted some of our woodworking friends to see how the Covid-19 virus pandemic and quarantine might be affecting their lives. First and with utmost importance, it goes without saying that following guidelines, staying safe, maintaining one’s health, being aware of your surroundings, and taking care of yourself and each other are at the top of the list. Without a unified effort in the common goal of defeating this virus by doing our part, none of us would be able to sustain a healthy, productive woodworking lifestyle that we have all become accustom to loving!

   

   Ron Campbell with his wife Lana of AZ Carbide Toledo OH, have sheltered at home for over a month, away from doing any woodworking events or demonstrations. Instead, they have a new, hopefully temporary business of creating protective masks for the pandemic effort which they started on March 21, 2020. According to Ron, "Business has been brisk, as I have not been in my shop in weeks, but working with my wife in her quilting studio. We are doing this in a production line set up. Cutting material and face sewing the fronts and backs together, followed by Lana adding the elastic. The next step is for me to press and top stitch. If both of us are sewing, we create around 40-60 masks per day. On any given day we ship about 75 masks out and are at a total of around 1500 as of May 6, 2020. Many folks have donated material, and we thank everyone for that. I hopefully can get back to my woodshop more often and Lana, her quilt making real soon."

      Tim Fuller, Retired with Woodis a fine furniture maker from Iowa, priding a family heirloom making wood shop business with rockers, grandfather clocks and other fine handcrafted items along with a sawmill business too. Tim told us, “The pandemic has mainly affected my lumber sales. I respect the social distancing guidelines trying to keep everyone that may come here as well as myself safe. At the moment I’m building an Oak and Walnut with tempered glass wall partition for Classic Bodyworks car body shop family business office. Because of the virus, helping the social distancing at work issue, this partition will be used at the front desk between the owner's daughter and the customers.”

   

   Rik Symonds owns Old Souls Custom Creations in Ashville, NC. Rik stated, “We've had a few customers table their project orders until a later date, affecting our income loss to the tune of about $25,000. Builds are down while wood purchase is up in my sawmill, so we are lucky that we sell and build. I am the only wood dealer in town open at the moment, so that has boosted my sawmill business. We are seizing the positives in this situation, acquiring and moving to a Firehouse as we convert it into our new home and wood shop. We launched our website at the perfect time. It allows a virtual audience to view everything I do and purchase easily. So more patrons are viewing it, increasing our sales as we build and make deliveries. All in all, I am still booked out for almost the rest of 2020.”

   Chris Schoenberg alias The Third Coast Craftsman from Holt, MI said, “We are all safe and healthy so far and I have been woodworking non-stop. I have had a couple of sponsors back out of deals, but I have plenty of work right now and other sponsors to continue working with. Things haven’t felt much different for our family honestly as I work from home and my wife is a stay at home mom. We definitely don’t go out and do anything social right now but our routine is pretty close to the same. Just keeping my head down and getting work done. Did you see the River Top jewelry box I just finished? It’s pretty cool! I used a sliding dovetail center divider as a button that actuates a lever and opens the otherwise impossible to open bottom drawer. There are no pulls on the bottom drawer, it’s recessed and held back with magnets. The box is made from walnut and quarter sawn white oak. MAS brand deep pour epoxy was used for the river top. It’s about 18” wide and 10" deep and 10" tall and has a secret drawer!" You may find plans for this box on Chris's Third Coast Craftsman website. Check out this short video on how the jewelry box works.....

   

   Wooden Treasures by Keith Lackner is an artisan turner from Dwight, IL who enjoys combining wood with resin, and if you haven't seen his stuff, you're missing out because his awesome creations are pristine! Keith is one busy guy. By day he is a production supervisor at Vactor, where they make huge sewer cleaners. In the world of woodworking, Keith is sponsored by Alumilite and Carter Products where he designed a signature tool just released, that is specifically for resin turning. Keith said, “All of my woodworking events are cancelled for the summer. My plant offered a voluntary lay off for 2 months. I took it so I can write my book called A Complete Guide to Resin Casting and Turning, which should be available September 2020 at your local Woodcraft store or online.  I am also filming a bunch of YouTube videos.” Below, Keith captured our WoodRiver Ice Cream Scoop and Pizza Cutter Kits with his stunning molded resin blanks, turned handles.




   Fix This Build That's Brad Rodriguez from Nashville, TN told us “It's been interesting. Some sponsors backing out, some on hold, and some plowing forward. But all in all, views are up and people are more engaged since everyone is home." Brad has been combining his building and influencing skills through the shop and into social media. Here are two projects, a garage organizing shelf unit and a wood and metal dining table. Both items have plans on Brad's website.

   

   Chad Stanton over at Wood Choppin' Time in Toledo OH said, “I am crazy busy. I have to turn work away. I’m not sure why I’m so busy. Some of the jobs I had lined up before the virus. Others are new. I can’t explain it! Making the most of it. My wife, Bo has painted her salon and a lot around the house hereCheck this out. A customer wanted a table for their kitchenette area. But they weren't sure what they wanted. I looked at the style of the kitchen and other things in the house and thought a rustic industrial table would be nice. So I sent them a sketch. But what sealed the deal was a 1/4 scale model of the finished piece."

   

   Joel Green - The Woodworking Scribe in Spokane, WA had this to offer, “During my Covid time out, we have painted bee boxes, placed bee swarm boxes in the trees on our property, built a germination room in our basement, raised shiitake mushrooms, building a DIY wood drying kiln out of an old fridge, finished up my urn projects and photographing, built the garden raised beds higher, home schooling my daughter Lily about nature on our property and other school related projects. And now that Woodcraft of Spokane is opening up mid-May 2020, I have been re-hired there, looking forward to all the projects, demos, helping customers and working with all the employees. I will also be putting together and planting a garden in the next couple of weeks. I’m a bit stretched to say the least, but at least we are all healthy!"

   Eric Gorges has been the host of Public Television's A Craftsman's Legacy since it began in 2014. Before that he worked in the corporate world until a health crisis caused him to reevaluate his life. He sought out one of the best metal shapers in the country and signed on as his apprentice. In 1999, he struck out on his own, opening the custom motorcycle shop, Voodoo Choppers, in Detroit, MI. Additionally, Eric has built a wood shop, adding that to his legacy, learning and growing one cut at a time! During this quarantine, Eric has taken the time to organize and add machines and tools to his shop. Eric also visits our Woodcraft stores, teaching demos, autographing his books and doing product interview videos. Here is his take on his quarantine time...

"Hey man, there has definitely been an impact. Some materials are difficult to get, some materials aren't available. Plus, I don't want to get anyone else sick, so I have everyone staying at home. No employees or customers. This time will pass, we just have to use the time to help each other. I've been organizing and adding items to my shop, getting ready for the new Craftsman's Legacy season while spending some time in my shop building organizational racks for my tools that were stacked and disheveled around my 600sq. ft. shop! I also built a mitre station out of Baltic Birch, Walnut and Pine. I am working on this decorative kitchen stand, made from highly figured Cherry and Monkey Pod. The dish is 10" in diameter and the stand is 4" x 6" x 10" tall. Check it all out"....

   


   Jess Crow of Crow Creek Designs had this to say about her busy schedule during the pandemic, "During COVID, I have had a lot more time then usual to be in front of a computer. I've got my website revamped and making YouTube videos! I am also working on my shop plans, and reaching the point where I can start to raise the roof-- literally!  

Having a lot of events canceled or moved has been hard, not going to lie. I am having my moments about it then finding positives to fill the sadness. My latest project is this Epoxy Burn Bowl turned on my new Laguna 18|36 Lathe...

   Ann of All Trades now in Nashville, TN wrote up her many activities for us. "Hey we are staying healthy over here, and thankful for very many things. To be honest though, things have not been super easy since the shutdown, it's affected my building project for my new shop by delaying it indefinitely, I've lost about 40% of my income, and I have 4 employees who depend on me for their livelihood but their ability to continue working "virtually" in jobs that require them to be physically present in a way that is helpful to the business in the long run is very limited, but I am committed to doing what I can to make it work for everyone. It being springtime on the farm, I'm keeping extremely busy and that is good, another blessing for which I'm very thankful. There isn't much going on in the woodworking shop because I don't have the ability to go out and buy supplies or building materials, but I'm very good at making do, so when something needs to get built, I'm sure I'll find a way.”

   Scott Phillips of The American Woodshop PBS Show in Piqua, OH offered his take on the quarantine timeout... “As PT Barnum once famously said: “The show must go on!” In every aspect of that idea, our lives must go on and they do. Whether we like it or not, the new normal is our normal. We are social distancing and are not doing anything in public. I am doing three post a day on Facebook. That way people can stay in touch. So right now I’m judging a huge crafts challenge contest for Create TV along with four other judges (Click on photo for details). We conclude that the end of April. There will be amazing three minute long videos of people expressing their talents with many different types of mediums including wood. It’s a huge honor for me to be part of this National outreach with Create TV. So that is consuming my time. I also am building many projects for season 28 of the American Woodshop which is titled “Mostly Turning”. There’s a lot of furniture and cabinet work with turned accents. So on this new season that will release in January 2021 it is mostly turning. Hope that you and everyone that you love and rub elbows with are doing well! Stay happy and healthy! And most of all, have fun! Love, Scott and Suzy.” The American Woodshop Season 28 for 2021 Episodes are referenced below.

No matter where you are from, or how hard the Coronavirus has hit your area, we hope that you will find some silver lining in this dark cloud as it passes by. So stay productive, be inspired, stay safe and healthy, and have some fun while taking the time to enjoy your craft or start a new one! 

We look forward to once again Helping You Make Wood Work at your local Woodcraft Stores nationwide very soon.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.... Frank

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