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Location: Waresboro, Georgia

I took on my first woodworking project when I was 9 years old. It was to be a gift for my dad on his birthday. I wanted to give him something that he could actually use, and I wanted to make it with my own two hands. So while he was at work, I would go in his wood shop and work away on my creation. He was a fisherman, so I figured I would make him a boat paddle.

Even at that young age, I understood that handmade “meant” something special because “handmade” was not just an object, but it was also part of the person that was creating it. These are ideas that at the age of 46, I still hold on to.

I made that little paddle from some old pine scrap board that was behind his shop. It was too small for him to actually use, and not perfectly shaped by any means. But I had poured my heart into that gift and that is what my dad saw when I gave it to him. He acted so proud of his little gift. He took it out to his boat shed and hung it on the wall over his work bench, where it has remained for the last 37 years.
Everytime I see that paddle it reminds me of why I fell in love with woodworking in the first place. It’s about taking something and shaping it into something else. You are adding value to the wood. The value isn’t in the form of dollars and cents. It’s in the form of heart and soul.

You see, when you have something hand-crafted, you have a piece of the craftsman. You have their vision and spirit. It gets in the work piece because for the craftsman, it isn’t just another “product” to turn out. It is much more significant than that. It is a passion to create something that wasn’t there before.

When I look at that paddle on the wall in my dad’s boat shed, I recall how I felt when I was making it... the anticipation, love, care, and effort that went into it. I remember how I got lost in the journey of creating it. These are the reasons I fell in love with woodworking, and they are the reasons I still do it today.


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