(My Woodworking History)
I am publishing my school page to allow my students and anyone else interested in doing some fine woodworking the opportunity to steal some of the trade secrets that I discovered during 34 years as a professional in this trade. Before I begin any instruction, please allow me to qualify.
During the latter part of my career in law enforcement I became interested in woodworking. That interest became so dominant that I was unable to remain focused on my civic duties. Fearing I may get someone killed (possibly me) if I did not follow my passion, I arranged for an early retirement at age 44, subscribed to Fine Woodworking Magazine and opened my first shop in Fullerton, California. Soon realizing how little I really knew about this trade, I entered the Cerritos College School of Woodworking program in Los Angeles. I studied everything that program had to offer under Dean Bill Katelle. Bill & I became great friends and I later served with him on the woodworking school advisory board for several years. I was blessed with the opportunity to do some of the woodwork for his new home in Long Beach. He was a very gifted teacher and performed that service with a passion. Bill taught me the spiritual part of woodworking and I shall endeavor to pass that on.
My first shop was in a residential one car garage. I soon became aware of how important it is to be organized in this business. Woodworking (for me) required lots of tools, hardware and other supplies.
I suspected right away that if these were not stored in an organized and logical way, there would be unnecessary problems to deal with. So I built 8 highly organized base cabinets with redwood face frames and dovetail drawers. I believe there were about 60 drawers in this system. These cabinets followed through 30 years of use and moves. I finally sold them to a fellow in Spokane when I moved into my last shop. I soon outgrew this small space (about 300 square feet) and leased a small commercial shop in Orange, Ca just over the fence from the Home Depot.
In this second shop I built a small office, moved in the redwood cabinets, installed a Delta Unisaw and went to work. It was 1987 now and I became interested in computer technology. I bought one and soon became obsessed with the technology. I learned programming and started developing software programs to aid my woodworking tasks. These included job components optimization, cut list organization, pricing and bid programs, etc. I learned auto cad starting with V2 and upgraded on a regular basis and was one of the first small shops in the area to produce professional drawings for my clients. While here in this shop I helped pioneer some of the standards for the Woodworking Institute of California (WIC). These standards still set guidelines for professional woodworkers in California. By 1990 I had become so energized in my work and had developed such an obsessive desire for enterprising my woodwork that I contacted two very successful local business men that had shown great interest in my work. I approached them with some ideas I had been developing and asked them for financial assistance. They were indeed interested and began a search of successful woodworking businesses in southern California. Almost immediately we found a shop in Anaheim on Harbor Blvd. less than a mile from Disneyland. They bought the whole thing, lock stock and barrel, including the building and real property.
Here I would like to insert a few artifacts to accompany the story I am writing. They certainly bring back a lot of old memories that I cherish.
This was my story as I told it in early 1990. To this day (July 2020) it has not changed,
This is a 54,000 square foot residence located in the wilderness area of Northeastern Washington.
I was blessed with the opportunity to do much of the cabinetry, furniture and millwork for this home. This shot was taken in the winter of 2017 and Trout Lake is frozen over. I began work there in 2008 and installed my last work in 2019. At that time construction was still underway. I was able to do some of my best work in this house and photographs of many of the project areas that I designed and built may be found throughout my website.
This little 5- 1/2" x 8- 1/2" sketch pad I designed and had printed sometime in 1988. It had three purposes. First, it had a graph paper grid to aid in achieving more accurate sketches. Second, the masthead had all of my contact information for my clients and third, in those two little circles at the top are drawings of how quartersawn (left) and plainsawn (right) lumber is cut. This was a great help in getting clients to visualize how their job would look aesthetically. Little tools like these sketch pads can have a considerable effect on how the client views you professionally. I left the entire pad with the client when I left the job .
This shot is of the Terraces on Lake Coeur de Alene, Idaho. The golf coarse to the left is the Coeur de Alene Country Club, home of that famous floating green (just out of sight to the left). There are 30 plush condos in this building. There are 5 levels in the complex. In the center of that boomerang shape are the five largest units at 8400 square feet each. I was blessed with the opportunity to build cabinetry, furniture and millwork for 2 suites in there. The first job was an 8400 square foot unit on the 3rd floor. I designed, built, finished and installed most of the woodwork for it. The job took seven months with just myself and Magi Rail working on it. You will find photographs of much of this work throughout my website. The second unit was a bit smaller and on the 4th floor. My good friend and woodworking associate Stuart Wulz of Spokane helped me build and install much of the woodwork in that suite. I was unable to complete the project but Stuart took over and completed the work. What he accomplished there was absolutely marvelous. It was among some the best work I have ever seen. He is truly a gifted craftsman. Thank you Stuart.
In the spring of 2017 I realized that my overhead costs were constantly rising and my revenue was steadily declining. If this trend continued the two lines would cross and I would be upside down. I gave it considerable thought and made the decision to downsize, build a shop on my property, and operate from there. Building the new shop took about 4 months working every night and weekends. I had to sell all of my big equipment like the 4000 pound overhead sander, the Robland 10 foot computerized table saw, and a half dozen other machines but those funds help finance my build. Please find the page "My Shop" that tells the story. I bought a new Felder CF531, an awesome precision combination machine, and that purchase made operating in shop #5 possible.
From my new little shop I produced an unbelievable amount of wood products of all kinds. Cabinets. furniture, CNC work of every imaginable kind. I had to bribe my neighbors with free woodwork and hardware but it worked out well and everyone was happy, especially me.
In late 2018 I met Stuart Wulz through my church. He was not employed and had some woodworking experience. I had volunteered to build a podium and a sound equipment
console for our church and asked him I he would like to help me. He agreed and we built the most beautiful pieces. They will be shown on my page "Church Project." Stuart and I became close friends during the build and he stayed on working part time. We built tons of woodwork together.
Statement of Qualification
In early 2018 I was diagnosed with emphysema. My doctor strongly suggested that I remove
myself from wood dust exposure as soon as possible, and move to a warmer, dryer climate. I
sold the Spokane business and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to live with my sister Sherrill. I thought I could retire from woodworking and just watch movies and play computer games. Wrong thing to do. I became bored, frustrated and grumpy. I nearly drove my sister nuts. Many of you have heard me preach about "Change, When Change Is Indicated" right?
I called my friend Joe Heath in Post Falls, Idaho and ordered a brand new CNC machine. As I
write this it is nearly done and due to arrive here by the end of next week. I am so excited I feel like a kid again.
So, if you have suffered through all this history of mine you should have a fair idea that I have
built a couple things with wood. If you would like to learn how I do that then you are in the right place. Just go to the 'School" tab under "Services" and click on one of the flyout buttons.
This was the back quarter panel. All of the above information was done on a single sheet of 8 1/2" x 14" sheet of paper, was inexpensive to mail and brought me a great number of orders. I made over 100 of these drums and I believe that some of them are now in Europe, Asia, Canada & South America.
I arrived in Spokane in October, 2001 just a few weeks after our 911 tragedy. I leased a beautiful commercial suite in the Dennis Court Complex at 7520 N. Market St. It was 1250 square feet including the office and the ceiling was 22 feet high. I immediately built a stairway to access the platform over the office and from there I built an elaborate system of bridges and catwalks for machine setups and storage. In so doing I expanded my suite to 1700 square feet. The catwalks and bridges allowed me to put in high output led lighting at the 9 foot level, just above my workbenches and machines. The original lighting in the ceiling provided adequate lighting for the upper level operations. I then moved in my equipment and voila, I am now in shop #4. Now I am living life as it was meant to be for me. I was working alone now, designing, selling, purchasing, transporting, sawing and machining, assembling, finishing, installing and enjoying every minute of it. In 2004 one of my California kitchens was published in the centerfold of Dree's Wood Products door catalog.
In 2009 one of my bathroom jobs was published in the Remodel Spokane Magazine summer edition. In 2013 one of my kitchens was published in Remodel Spokane winter edition. Also in 2013 I leased the suite next to mine, put a huge doorway through the wall and expanded my shop into that suite. I copied the construction that I did in my first suite into the second suite, bridges, catwalks, lighting and all. This gave me 3400 square feet. I built and delivered an unbelievable quantity of cabinets, furniture and millwork from this shop. Almost all of this was done by yours truly alone. I did have a helper for a period of time. Her name is Magi Rail and she was a very talented woman. Magi and her husband did much of the original stone work on the house shown below.
This is the side for the recipients address.
This is what is seen on the back side of the mailer..
This quarter panel was designed to show clients the different exotic inlay patterns that I offered. These patterns could then be applied to their custom drum.
This next series of images shows an example of how my love of woodworking began to grow and blossom. I was 46 years old and began to turn inward to examine my core belief system as I was
not happy in a spiritual sense. The result for me was astonishing. I came to believe that my creative nature was an extension of my belief in God and from that day until this one the things that I give form and shape from wood are derived from Him. I thank my old friend Bill Katelle for
putting me on that path. I designed and had printed a double sided 4 fold brochure on 8 1/2" x 14" paper the following marketing tool for the drums that I was designing and building.
It is now 1990 and I am settled into my 3rd shop on Anaheim Blvd. just 1 block south of City Hall. The way this shop was set up just wouldn't do. The showroom was on the second floor with glass windows to the front and both sides. It was well furnished by the previous owner but everything was quite dated. I gutted the whole thing, installed new carpet and built state of the art cabinetry for it (both traditional and European style). Several of my furniture designs were also added to the display. Then I replaced most of the equipment and all of the original staff in the shop at the street level. I built an office with a glass front and added several new machines. I built and installed new custom cabinetry to organize hardware and supplies to supplement my old redwood cabinets. This shop and showroom totaled 5000 square feet. Unfortunately, now being the CEO of a California Corporation forced me to change the way I did woodworking. Instead of operating like a human being, I became a human doing. Corporate pressures forced me into the office or on the road doing sales and putting out fires. Woodworking became a memory and Wayne became a very dull boy. Ten years later in 2000, my partners lost interest in the business and the corporation was dissolved. That is when Wayne's Woodworks was born. It was here that I became an inspector for the California State License Board doing job evaluations on high end projects. I did this along with my regular woodworking duties. However, before long I became uncomfortable criticizing the work of my competitors and I resigned. The good news: I'm back in the shop again doing what I love to do. In September my work was published with a feature article in Custom Woodworking Magazine. The article was entitled "Home Offices." Also at about this time I became qualified in the California Superior Court System as an industry expert in the fields of Cabinetmaking, Furniture Making and Millwork.
Now I am a sole proprietor and just a few months later the City of Anaheim informed me that I was to be the victim of an eminent domain action and I had six months to find another place to do woodworking. It seems they needed my property to build a new parking facility for city hall. I packed everything up and hauled it all up to Spokane, Washington, less the staff.