Hello Wood World
A little about me
I spend every bit of spare time I can find woodworking in my shop. Professionally, I'm a creative director at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. Domestically, I'm husband to my lovely wife Bonnie, and daddy to three beautiful girls; Krista, Mikayla, and Leah.
The path that led me here
I've been working in creative communication for the past 15 years, but I got my start in the workplace as a carpenter when I was 19-years-old, and struggling to make ends meet. I came to Texas in 1996 for my first job in the world of wood. It was a rough gig, framing houses under the blazing Texas sun. Luckily, youth was on my side, I stuck it out and quickly started to enjoy the work. It came naturally to me, and, despite the heat, it was a great way to learn carpentry basics. I went on to work with a builder in Iowa for a stint; there I was able to expand my skillset beyond framing houses.
Eventually, back in Texas, I landed a job at a company that specialized in building exhibits for trade shows. Trade show exhibit construction was super-exciting work. I was good at it, and as a 20-something-old, I was learning new things every day.
I remember those early days in the shop as a woodworking apprentice, taking extended trips to the lumber store, drooling over the wood, adoring the shiny hand tools. Spending way too much time at WoodCraft. Reading every issue of Fine Woodworking as if it were scripture. I was head-over-heels infatuated and so completely enamored with every facet of this new world.
Every day at work I'd have this exhilarated tireless feeling, and every evening I would return totally exhausted—my craft completely energized me, and I gave it all I had.
We lived in a little 700-square-foot apartment at the time, with no garage so I decided to turn our dining room into a makeshift wood shop so I could build my first toolbox. Bonnie has endured so much over the years!
I eventually worked my way through the apprenticeship, became a Journeyman carpenter and for a minute, I felt like I had arrived.
But then one day I woke up and felt it was time to move on. The drive to fulfill my childhood dream of being 'an artist' led me away from the shop—I wanted to design the exhibits, not build them. Unfortunately, (it seemed) at the time, there were no schools in the area offering industrial design, so I had to settle for the closest thing I could find—graphic design. So I went to art school after work and eventually left the wood world to begin my new career as a graphic designer.
During school, an important distinction between exhibit design and graphic design occurred to me. Designing an exhibit is mainly creating a rendering for the presentation meeting, It's out of the designer's hands after that first step. A graphic designer is connected directly to the outcome of her work. That truth is what kept me chasing a career in graphic design, and I haven't looked back. I absolutely love creative work, and I have no regrets.
But woodwork was my first love, and I've never stopped dreaming about it, and I've never grown out of that awkward, geeky phase I fell into as an apprentice. I still spend too much time gawking in the local Woodcraft store, and I have more tools in my Amazon cart than I could ever afford or fit in my shop.
Where I stand today
Over the last few years, I've found woodworking to be therapeutic—it gives me a space to be creative, to make things without fear of criticism, without a team to align with, or a brief to follow. It's challenging work, but it's so rewarding to craft something into existence. It taps into a core human quality. God was creative, and he made us in His image. Building things is my number one creative outlet; the shop is my playground, I go there to have fun and forget about whatever is weighing on my mind.
Reclaiming the past | The Purpose of DDC Woodworks
I finally started coming out of my introverted shell about a year ago on Instagram, and I've enjoyed the community I found there. This blog exists as a way for me to take that idea a step further. DDC Woodworks is a space for sharing tips, tricks and beginning new collaborative work with an emphasis on reclaimed wood and the things I'm making with it.
As a designer and artist, I've always loved incorporating texture into my work. I've come to appreciate the same approach with woodworking. Aged, reclaimed wood that has scars and marks and patina is much more attractive to me; I love working with salvaged wood, and I've developed a few schemes to get my hands on it for cheap that I will be sharing soon.
This blog is all about reclaiming a community of woodworkers. It's about connecting with experts like the ones I walked away from when I left the shop. It's about finding people who love to create, a tribe of makers united by their passion for turning trees into treasures.
This blog is my chance to give back. I learned so much from those guys I worked alongside in the shop, Mike, Ralph, John, and countless others whose names I've forgotten. I'm not a 'professional' anymore—woodworking isn't my day job, and I certainly don't know everything, but I feel like I have something to contribute from my varied experiences and unique path.
I hope to inspire you. To give you the confidence to take on your next project or to give your last failed attempt another go. I'm going to teach you everything I know about getting wood work done and done well. I'm sure I will learn a lot from you along the way as well.
We're going to talk about:
- Reclaiming Wood
- DIY Tutorials
- Techniques & Hacks
- And whatever life deals