As part of our Mother’s Day series, we will introduce you to several superstar moms (and grandmothers!) who combine their love of family with their love of woodworking.
Meet Beth Kenyon
Beth Kenyon of Beverly, Ohio, gets things done. When her husband procrastinated too long on some projects she had asked him to make, she got impatient and decided she would make them herself. “How hard can it be?” she thought. That was 17 years ago, and she hasn’t slowed down since. “Long story short, I found that I really enjoyed the whole process, and my couple of projects became many,” she shared.
Now an accomplished woodworker and crafts(wo)man, Beth said most of her work is practical and functional such as furniture, cabinets and doors. When she is working on a project, she said she kind of gets “in the zone” and forgets everything else. In fact, she has been known to lose track of time and forget to eat!
Though she was introduced to woodworking in 8th grade when she took a required course for part of the school year, it wasn’t a subject that intrigued her at the time. “We all had to make a level,” she recalled. “I wasn’t that interested in woodworking back then, but I do still have that level.”
Beth started really concentrating on her woodworking soon after her daughter (now 36) graduated high school and moved away from home. She also has three stepchildren ranging in age from 44 to 51, 7 grandchildren (6 boys and 1 girl, ages 4 to 27) and a 3-year-old great grandson. Beth said her daughter is pretty creative naturally and likes to paint. “When she visits, we both usually are building something she wants for her studio or home,” she said.
Family is always a priority for Beth, but now that she is semi-retired and only works a couple of days a week, she has more free time. “That is when I head to my shop,” she said. She finds inspiration for her craft everywhere: catalogs, stores, online, art shows or museums, to name a few. “Lately I’ve been making a few things that were inspired by antique pieces, things I really like but you can’t buy them anymore,” she said.
When it comes to tools, Beth said her wisest purchase was a good router and router table. “It's very versatile and I use it on about every project,” she shared. “I have found the occasional class is also a wise purchase. I have learned a lot from teachers and other students, plus I have made good friends.”
The most challenging and most fulfilling project Beth has completed so far has been a large built-in cabinet. “I wasn't sure if I would be able to do it or not,” she admitted. Using a variety of skills like cabinetmaking, veneering, inlay, and bronze casting, Beth made the cabinet in several pieces and assembled it in its final location. The completed cabinet size measures 6-1/2ꞌ wide by 9-1/2ꞌ tall.
A dream project on Beth’s woodworking bucket list is to make a wooten (sometimes spelled “wooton”). “That is one of those antique pieces of furniture that no one makes any more. Very few people have even heard of one, but it’s basically a desk that folds into a cabinet and has lots of cubbies and drawers.”
It seems this do-it-herself mother can accomplish just about any project she sets her mind to.
Happy Mother’s Day, Beth Kenyon!