Chris Schwarz's Blog

A Visit to George Walker's Shop

Despite my Southern friendliness, I have bit of a mean streak.

On Thursday we visited George Walker‘s home and workshop in Canton, Ohio, to shoot some photos for his upcoming articles on furniture design for Popular Woodworking.

We scouted the first floor of his house and looked at a very nice tall case clock he built, plus a drop-dead gorgeous secretary. Both are in kicking tiger maple (Mr. Walker has a tiger maple monkey on his back).

When we met to pick a project to feature in the photograph, I chose a nailed-together pine boot bench with a routed heart-shaped cutout on either end.

“This piece would nicely show off your ideas about whole-number ratios and column orders, don’t you think?” I asked.

“I was just taking that piece to the curb,” Walker said.

After that wild piece of hilarity, Walker showed us around his shop in his basement. The workshop’s centerpiece is a Frank Klausz-inspired workbench and a wall of hand tools. Walker, a long-time woodworker, uses surprisingly few machines. He has a 1949 Delta Unisaw, a lathe, a drill press and a planer out in the garage. Everything else is hand tools.

As Art Director Linda Watts and Photographer Al Parrish worked on setting up the photos, I shot a few other photos of Walker’s cozy shop, shown below.

My favorite workshop accessory: A faded upholstered easy chair.

“What shop doesn’t have a chair like that?” Walker asked.

I now know what my shop at home is missing.

– Christopher Schwarz

Linda and Al working on a test image.

Some of Walker’s planes in the cabinet behind his bench.

Walker’s hanging tool cabinet.

12 thoughts on “A Visit to George Walker's Shop

  1. Mark DeLuca

    Chris –

    The photos are great, but a shop tour is the ideal candidate for a video. A video with audio commentary from the shop owner about how he uses his shop and how it has evolved over time is often invaluable.

    Those passionate about woodworking would never hesitate to watch a short video about someone’s shop, you never know what you might pick up.

    Mark D.

  2. George Walker

    Chris,

    It was a fun day, I always enjoy your humor along with your knowledge and enthusiasm for the craft. Never thought of it while you were here but that hanging tool rack was one of those experiments in proportion where I didn’t use a tape measure, just dividers. I meant to put drawers in the bottom section but found that I liked the open spaces. Concerning the sawdust and patina, Chris was trying to give me some street cred since I still have all my fingers intact. I can assure you all the blades are sharp. Thanks for the compliments on the shop.

    George

  3. Christopher Schwarz

    Dan,

    The bench was essentially where I was standing when I tool the full-on shot of the tool cabinet. George has only to turn around from his bench to grad the right tool.

    Chris

  4. Christopher Schwarz

    It’s a homemade piece of crap. I don’t recommend it. You can get a real laptop stand from a tech company or Ikea. Wheels. Adjustable. Stable.

    Chris

  5. Ed Furlong

    Chris:

    Thanks for the view into a great shop! Just what I need–a serious case of hand tool lust as the holiday shopping season approacheth. I suspect my resolution to show restraint in my Christmas list is seriously weakened.

    Out of curiosity, is that a music stand or tripod that Al and Linda have the laptop on in the first photo? It looks like a very handy portable stand for the field work I do, as well as using Sketch Up in the shop.

  6. Mike Craw

    How reassuring to see someone’s shop where the tools have a slight dusting of sawdust and the L/N blockplanes have a natural patina rather than a high shine! Thanks George, for not spit-shining everything before the PW crew showed up, and thanks Chirs, for the photo tour.

    Mike

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