Meet Don Williams at Woodworking in America - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Meet Don Williams at Woodworking in America

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Don Williams is a conservator, educator, scholar and all-around inquisitive guy (and also the owner of more than 40 sets of suspenders). He is co-author of the book “Saving Stuff,” with Louisa Jaggar, and has worked on some of the most interesting pieces in our “Nation’s Attic,” in private and public collections, and in historic buildings.

He’s a seasoned teacher on a vast array of topics including woodworking, furniture conservation and wood finishing, and has published research on ancient coating materials as well as modern finishes, has developed finishes of his own invention, and has been published in national woodworking magazines. Don has also found time to write a mystery novel (still awaiting the right publisher) as well as several mystery stories , one of which involves a modern furniture restorer who discovers world-changing secrets hidden in an antique cabinet (I want to read it!).

Don’s career in various woodworking trades began in 1972, when he was a truck driver and repairman for an interior design firm. He’s worked as a foundry patternmaker, and in the restoration trade on everything from clocks and piano cases to classic European furniture and decorative arts. Don attended the University of Delaware to pursue a degree in museum conservation, where he got hands-on experience with one of the premier furniture collections in the United States, at Winterthur. He estimates he’s seen tens of thousands of antique furniture examples in his years of work.

Don has conducted dozens of short courses and seminars across the country on historic furniture, materials and techniques. At Woodworking in America: Furniture Construction & Design, Don will be sharing his expert knowledge of the sea change in joinery that occurred during the 19th-century, when furniture construction moved from all hand tools to modern machinery. The transition abruptly changed the way furniture was built, how it looked, and the people who built it. And, Don will be hosting two question-and-answer sessions, where you can ask him about 19th-century joinery, finishing, his suspenders, mystery writing and more.

– Megan Fitzpatrick

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  • megan

    I don’t actually know – But if I come across any information before the conference, I’ll send it your way. But I’ll also make a point of asking Don, and see what sources he recommends.

  • Peter Evans

    The transitions from hand to machine in Europe and US are not the same story. Are there any publications tracing the transition? Unfortunately I am several thousand miles away from the event and so will miss this important course.

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