In Interviews

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We’re interviewing makers from across the country. Today we’re featuring Ed Cardona, a soon-to-be full-time woodworker from New Jersey.

How did you get started woodworking? Who were your mentors?

As a youngster I always loved building model cars and airplanes. The process of taking all of those small plastic parts and having them come together into something tangible, by my hands, was just rewarding to me. About 35 years ago I helped a friend renovate his first home. His wife’s uncle (Pedro) was a self-taught carpenter who was doing most of the work. While this involved traditional home related carpentry, I found myself there every moment I could learning from Pedro and cementing my passion for building & using good tools. Other early mentors were Bob Vila (who oddly enough was Cuban American like Pedro) and Norm Abram.

What do you think is your best or favorite work?

I love making personalized signs, particularly if it involves inlays however, I made a tv stand for a family member and cannot wait to make my next piece of furniture!

What kind of work do you do the most?

Currently it’s mostly smalls like cutting boards, coasters and small signs and awards.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to start woodworking or pursue it as a profession?

The older I get the more I subscribe to the old adage “just do it”! With that in mind I am leaving corporate America in 6 weeks and going full time myself!

What’s your best hands-on tip or woodworking technique?

It’s not a new tip but it’s very true – don’t over think it and learn from your mistakes – it’s the only way to grow your craft.

Is there anyone you’d like to shout-out or recommend we follow?

Nolan Thompson @nolanbuilt on IG. Nolan was one of the very first accounts I followed on IG and he’s always been willing to provide advice. Had the pleasure of meeting him at the last 2 WBCs.

Who inspires you? (Doesn’t have to be woodworking related, either.)

Frank Strazza
Chris Schoenberg from @thirdcoastcraftsman
Erik Curtis from @encurtis
and Bob Kloes from @kloesspecialtyhardwoods – I hope to know as much about wood as he does one day!

See more of Ed’s work on Instagram @oakridgewoodworks and his Etsy:

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

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