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(If you missed Part 2 of the trilogy, click here)

I am the second (and therefore the most well-adjusted) of three boys in my family. I was the one who shadowed my father’s every move. If he liked it, I liked it too. As a result I have worked on model “A” engines, rebuilt Corvettes and restored a 1947 MG. Dad was into cars.

I’m fortunate that Dad decided to build furniture. Of course, that meant I wanted to build furniture as well. As Dad acquired woodworking tools, I found one that fit me perfectly. At the ripe old age of 13, I needed projects that were cheap, didn’t take forever to complete, and had a low barrier of entry as far as the initial learning curve. The lathe was perfect for me.

I got started turning bowls and grew a little better with each endeavor. I created bowl after bowl after bowl from a single block of hardwood. After a while, I figured that because I mastered this aspect of woodworking (hey I’d been at it for better than three months!) I might as well venture forth into something new , building furniture.

When I told Dad, he suggested (while holding back a Cheshire cat-sized grin) that I go through some woodworking books to find my first project. At the time, the only books he had were those written by Franklin H. Gottshall, including “Reproducing Antique Furniture” (Crown) and “Masterpiece Furniture Making” (Stackpole). These are not beginner projects. Undaunted, I leafed through the pages until I found my first foray into furniture building , the Sheraton Field Bed.

It had turning, at which I felt more-than-accomplished. So I thought it was a project I could build. Can you say lofty expectations? But Dad caved to my begging, and we were off to the lumberyard come Saturday.

In the following days, weeks or months (I’m not sure which it actually turned out to be), I built that bed with my Dad’s help. Or, he built that bed while I watched , depending on whose story you want to believe. I have that bed to this day, and look fondly on it every time I relate this story.

Years passed. I finished high school, graduated from college and decided to start my own business. I had to; no one would hire me. So, I pulled Dad from semi-retirement and started a business building houses (that’s what Dad had semi-retired from). It didn’t fly. So, I worked for other builders for a few years, then decided to give it another try. I pulled dad from semi-retirement (again). I realized, after a year of building for family and friends, that I was unhappy , and the feeling grew stronger every minute. In fact, I was so aggravated that I could bite a nail in half. I knew it was time to move on.

But what I liked about the homebuilding trade was “rough framing.” During this phase of construction, you worked hard all day, then walked to the street, looked back, and saw what you’d accomplished. And every few days the project changed and was new again.

And where else did I find this immediate feedback, and a new project every couple days? Woodworking, that’s where. I knew where I had to go, and started in that direction. As my career in homebuilding came to an end, I began to build stairs, paneled fireplace walls and other built-in pieces for new construction.

That, in turn, led to a special project, a full bar with a card-sharks theme, that afforded me the chance to return to building furniture full-time. The funds earned would carry me until I had been juried into a show and sold a couple of pieces. And it did , along with a second healthy dose of money.

I sent notices out to my accounts, closed the doors again and started another business. Building furniture was now my profession much to the dismay of others. You see I was able to drag Dad out of retirement yet again, to travel the country exhibiting at shows and selling our furniture.

, Glen D. Huey

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Showing 2 comments
  • Brian Wetmore

    Testing #6.

  • Chris C


    I admire your ability to take risks. It is one of the
    staples of what founded this country. too bad so many
    of us are resigned to sit in a cubicle all day.


    PS: Love that queen anne highboy! Is that in your home?

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