Most days I’m envious of Don Weber’s shop in Paint Lick, Kentucky. It’s an old storefront in a quiet little town in a beautiful part of the country. Old workbenches and hand tools are right at home on the hardwood floors. Light streams in through the windows at the front, and Don’s forge and blacksmith shop are down the steps and out the back. It’s a great space and Don is one of our favorite author’s; a wealth of knowledge earned through years of study and work. Don last appeared in our pages with an article about building a Hayrake table in the February 2009 issue, and he has been featured on Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s Shop.
A few days ago heavy rains pushed a nearby creek over its banks, sending four and a half feet of water into Don’s shop. Along with the water came mud, trash and used oil from an auto repair shop across the street. The water receded but the mess remained, and Don is in the midst of a cleanup of Herculean proportions. I spoke with him this morning and found him working away, making progress as he puts his shop and life back together. The table saw is dried out and running, tools and benches are being cleaned. Ever the optimist, Don will clean the blacksmith shop last, telling me “all the oil is keeping my hammers from rusting”.
The biggest loss was to his extensive library of woodworking books, many of them rare and out of print. These were the most vulnerable items inside and Don is trying his best to salvage them while putting together a list of titles that he will need to replace. And of course, he is essentially out of business until everything is back in order. He earns his living making traditional items in wood and iron, and teaching these skills.
You can get in touch with Don through his website, Handcraft Woodworks, and he will be a part of our Woodworking in America Conference this October.
–Robert W. Lang