A Message from Charles
First off, I am you, a woodworker, I’ve just been at it along time. I do it professionally and have for about 30 years or so and I’ve been finishing since I was 13. I’m now 57, I started finishing by painting cars and later got into doing all the customized stuff. I have always had a love for wood and found furniture and construction in general to be fascinating. Ever since I was a little kid, I would tie, or later nail “stuff” together….just loved creating. As I got older I really started looking at antiques and very fine furniture and it just captivated me.
Where I grew up in a small town here in the Shenandoah valley, we had several original old plantations that had survived the Civil War. The owner of one of them, Ms. Kathryn Alexander, was my baby sitter and I spent lot of time there and was fascinated by the furnishings. In my teens and up through my late 20′s I spent time helping care for her and the house. It had a lot of wonderful pieces of furniture and some were brought here in the 1750′s from Pennsylvania by ox and cart. Part of the property was surveyed by George Washington and the corner stones were so chiseled. To this very day I know where they are located. The house contained huge highboys, corner cabinet’s, pie safes, clocks, rockers, Windsor chairs, beds of all sorts, and it was just fascinating to me. I studied them hard and through the various courses of life’s twist and turns my love for woodworking and fine furniture never diminished, and I simply kept at it. At one point I decided to build some things for sale and put them out, and folks bought them and have never stopped. Thus started my woodworking career, and here I am today.
In my world, you had to learn to be very inventive, and “make do.” improvise, and thats how i learned to do woodworking. A chapter in my life found me in Charleston, SC where I had the priviledge of working with several old masters whose forte was building repros of amazing museum pieces as well as repairing and restoring them. Here I learned a ton, taking apart antiques worth millions of dollars and seeing how they were made, and understanding they had survived hundreds and in some cases thousands of years, was to say the least, an education few have been afforded. I was like a sponge….and am grateful for the education it afforded me. The only power thing we had was the electric light bulbs in the small shop, the rest was totally old school.
Today things have changed a lot and yet remain the same. The internet has opened up a whole new world to me, a world that allows me to share my experience and knowledge, and I got a few more tools than I had, but I still like it kept simple. I started the video, writing thing out of a pure distain for the information being given to other woodworkers. I found it to be presented in a very complicated manner, presented as achievable by only the smartest and most elite and seemed the writer was far more interested in impressing you than teaching you. So here I am, I have no desire to impress you, nor entertain you, but I hope in a very informative, personal, simplistic way I will be able to teach you what I have learned,.
That’s about all there is to me except to say I take my woodworking very serious, other wise, not much else, I am a fighter, I don’t let life get me down, and I do enjoy laughter, cutting up, or as we say in the South “cuttin fool.” I find it much better to make a joke and laugh at it than cry about it.
I know my woodworking and finishing is a talent…its a divine gift, as well as my gift to communicate in simplistic language and it was given to me to be shared, so I try my best to do it. I certainly don’t know it all and learn everyday, I make alot of mistakes, and I try to learn from them….and my goal in all of this is to share my knowledge, make a lot of friends and enjoy doing it….so here we are….email me, call me, I am just like you so dont be bashful…