LJ Interviews #10: CharlieM1958

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 12-09-2010 12:41 PM 2580 reads 1 time favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: SnowyRiver Part 10 of LJ Interviews series Part 11: kolwdwrkr »

This interview is from the December issue of our CreativeHands News. We head to the workshop of CharlieM1958 to learn about his woodworking journey.

Charlie’s first comment was, “These are hard questions. I didn’t know I was going to be on 60 Minutes! :-) “

1. How did you first get started working with wood?
In January of 2005 I was walking through Home Depot with a little extra cash in my wallet when I noticed a Ryobi portable table saw on sale for $89. I bought it more or less on a whim, thinking the price was right and it might come in handy some day. I had always done the standard handyman—around-the-house jobs like hanging shelves and the like, but had never really ventured into what you would call “woodworking.”

Well, the first time a ripped a board to width, it suddenly dawned on me what a world of possibilities this little tool opened up! I immediately started building a box out of various scraps I had lying around, and I was hooked.

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2. What was it about woodworking that initially caught your interest, enticing you to get into it at the level you are now?
I’ve always been a creative person. I started writing poetry as a young child, and have been composing music since I was 13. I was never good at visual arts, though, like painting or drawing. Woodworking opened up a way for me to express my creativity visually as well.

3. Tell us a bit of history of your journey from that beginning to where you are today
I don’t consider myself that far along in my journey as a woodworker, so there is not much to tell. I started subscribing to a few of the woodworking magazines, and I found Lumberjocks. The site has definitely been my biggest source of information and inspiration. I’ve built my collection of tools over the last five years, and learned a lot through trial and error.

4. What inspires you regarding wood creations?
I’m inspired both by the traditional and the imaginative. I would love to be able to produce something like a traditional highboy or a rolltop desk some day, but I also like to come up with things that are new and different in some way.

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5. What are the greatest challenges that you have met along the way? (and how did you overcome them)
The greatest challenge for me has been to learn patience. I’m all about instant gratification, and once I start a project I am anxious to see it completed. As we all know, haste makes waste when it comes to woodworking. I have finally started to learn how to enjoy the process. Taking the extra time to do something right always pays dividends in the end.

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6. What is the greatest reward that you have received from woodworking? (personal or tangible)
I have sold a few pieces, but the real reward for me is my own satisfaction. Taking a piece of raw wood and discovering the beauty hidden within it is a real source of pleasure. Sharing my work with others and hearing their compliments is nice but, just as I find in writing music, the biggest payoff is really an internal, intensely personal thing. Even if I lived on a deserted island and no one would ever see a thing I made, woodworking would be just as much fun as it is now.

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7. What is your favourite tool that you use for woodworking?
I think the table saw is still the tool I’d least like to live without, although I must say, as a novice turner, the lathe has captured my imagination and opened up another new world of possibilities.

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8. What is your favourite creation in/for your woodworking?
My favorite creation is usually my last. I find I have to come back a few months later to see my work more objectively. Overall, though, maybe my favorite is a walnut hall table I made for my parents. It was made at their request to fit a certain space, and I think (even though it is nothing special) it exceeded their expectations. Every time I visit they tell me how much they enjoy it, and how much it is complimented by friends and neighbors.

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9. What tips would you give to someone just starting out or currently struggling with woodworking?
Read, watch videos on the web, take classes, ask your fellow woodworkers for advice, but don’t be afraid to experiment. I occasionally do things that contradict the “conventional wisdom.” Sometimes they don’t work out, but sometimes they do. In woodworking there are usually many ways to skin a cat. Only through experimentation will you learn which ones work best for you. Above all.. be patient. Don’t hurry through one step just to get to the next. I’ve never finished a project and said “Gee, I wish hadn’t wasted so much time getting those miters just right.”

10. How did you find LumberJocks and what is it that keeps you coming back?
I was frequenting one of the woodworking usenet groups, and one day someone posted a link to Lumberjocks. I found it to be a fantastic site. At that time I think there were less than 2,000 members, and the core group of regular posters was quite small. You could literally view and comment on every project or topic that was posted, and there was a great helpful, family-type atmosphere.

Today, even though the site has grown quite large, there is still a strong core group of regular posters, a great sense of community among the members, and a true spirit of caring and helpfulness that makes me proud to call myself a Lumberjock!

Thanks for the great interview!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

37 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4327 days

#1 posted 12-09-2010 01:53 PM

This was a nice interview. Thanks you both, Deb and Charlie, for letting us get a glimpse of your woodworking journey, Charlie.

And is this timely or what. This is certainly your special day Charlie. Happy birthday, Charlie.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View patron's profile


13653 posts in 3846 days

#2 posted 12-09-2010 02:11 PM

good choice debbie

charlie is around the bend a bit
always doing something new

which keeps us all striving
to do better

your insights and wit
are always spot on

thank you both

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3700 days

#3 posted 12-09-2010 02:28 PM

Nice interview Charlie. That table saw opened up a world of possibilities for me too, although now I dislike that saw but still manage with it lol.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3361 days

#4 posted 12-09-2010 02:47 PM

Nice One.
Great interview.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3581 days

#5 posted 12-09-2010 03:05 PM

As Barry said “Good Read”. It’s cool to see a little background on a friendly and familiar face her on LJ. On top of that I got to read the whole “60 Minutes Interview” without being interrupted by a single commercial….lol

Good Stuff!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View lew's profile


12859 posts in 4260 days

#6 posted 12-09-2010 03:21 PM

Very nice interview but you forgot to add in a section on Charlie’s fantastic sense of humor!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4387 days

#7 posted 12-09-2010 03:49 PM

A well deserved interview.
Chuck is one of the nicest people you could meet on LJs.
People like him make this place great.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4153 days

#8 posted 12-09-2010 04:01 PM

I have to second Steve- a well deserved interview and one of the nicest people you could meet (on LJ or elsewhere)

My biggest gripe with this interview though, is that it makes Charlie look like a serious person. I’m not sure I’m buying into that.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View sedcokid's profile


2735 posts in 4103 days

#9 posted 12-09-2010 04:14 PM

Thanks Debbie for this interview, you certainly chose the right guy to interview. It is amazing that $89.00 could open up a whole new arena for Charlie. I certainly enjoy Lumberjocks people like Charlie and you Ms. Debbie make this a worthwhile site.


-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3488 days

#10 posted 12-09-2010 04:32 PM

Great interview. Just another way to get to know our fellow Lumber Jocks. Interesting what triggers someone to get into woodworking. In Charlie’s case a inexpensive table saw fired up his creative juices to become the woodworker he is today. Once again a great interview.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4665 days

#11 posted 12-09-2010 04:35 PM

11. Charlie… and where did you get your sense of humour? Is it an inherited trait?”

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3808 days

#12 posted 12-09-2010 04:47 PM

first, thanks Debbie for your work here and what you do brings joy to us, second i thank charlie for taking the time to do the interview, your answers to the questions help us all get to know you a little better and we also get to understand your love for wood working, this is one of the reasons i love it here…getting to know those who make up this great community of wood workers, charlies work has always inspired me , from the design to the beauty of what he makes…thank you to you both…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4266 days

#13 posted 12-09-2010 04:57 PM

Great interview. Kudos to Debbie and LJ for this nice feature.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4751 days

#14 posted 12-09-2010 05:03 PM


-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4379 days

#15 posted 12-09-2010 05:33 PM

Great interview! I knew Charlie a bit already, but it was nice to get to know him a little better. I always enjoy Charlie’s thoughtful comments and sly wit.

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showing 1 through 15 of 37 comments

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