When I walk into my shop and flip the lights on, it’s an enjoyable moment. For the next several hours I know I’m going to be able to create something and express myself through my hands. The wood has a way of speaking to me and tells me what it wants to be formed into. I get anxious, nervous, and excited to begin the process.
Along with working in my shop, I love to have music playing. I crank it up to do some hard-rockin’ or maybe a little dance from the table saw to the miter saw. In my shop, music is vital to me. Working alone all the time, the music also gives me a feeling of not being so isolated. Music can make me celebrate the completion of a task, or just give me a moment to pause and reflect on the next steps to be performed. Music, much like what I create, is another expression of my personality and who I am.
I listen to a variety of different styles of music, and recently I have been listening to a local musician named, Jake Pilewski. When Jake’s songs play, I can hear his heart and soul in his music. Seeing Jake perform live, only reviles the passion he has for his art. Whether he is headlining a big festival or playing at a lunchtime jazz coffee house, Jake plays his best at every venue. His intensity caught my attention and I started to relate it to my own woodworking. As a fulltime furniture maker, not every project is exciting. I felt I should follow Jake’s perspective and do my best no matter what I’m working on. But that wasn’t the only lesson I learned.
I’ve also had the pleasure of talking one on one with Jake. He has the look and talent of a rock star. But I was so surprised how humble and inspiring he was to be around. He never expressed jealousy or envy towards other musicians. Quite the contrary, he does his best to promote and encourage other local musicians. I saw this first hand when he stepped in to sing background and play piano on another local band, Identical Suns. Kind, gracious, and humble he gave his all and asked for nothing in return.
I also hear him in an interview and he said something that really stuck with me. Jake said, “You never want to be the smartest person in the room because if you are, you can never learn from others.” To me that was prophetic. Learning from others is a huge resource to advance our skills and should be extended to everyone. So from taking a lesson from Jake, I reached out to a couple of other woodworkers of the highest caliber.
I am proud to announce two new contributors to our newsletter. I am honored to know both of them and believe they will greatly contribute to everyone’s education in woodworking.
The first is Zachary Dillinger. Zach is a furniture maker, writer, and appraiser. He specializes in reproducing antique American furniture with period-correct hand tools. He is the author of several books such as, “ With Saw, Plane, and Chisel: Building Historic American Furniture with Hand Tools” (F&W Media). He is also frequently called on to demonstrate and teach period woodworking techniques to crowds from two to two hundred.
The second is my good friend and mentor, Dennis Lanely. Dennis has been actively building furniture and working in the trades for over 60 years. Learning the craft from his grandfather, he was instructed to “Keep the secrets of woodworking within the brotherhood of the craft.” Dennis honored his grandfather for many years but now realizes these secrets, need to be shared so that they are not lost or forgotten.
Dennis is a local legend for his furniture skills and they are at the highest grade, worthy of museum quality. Woodworking for Dennis is not a hobby, but a calling in life.
Of course, we still have the regular contributors of Jerill Vance, Mitch Peacock, David Shepard, Rick Fraizer and myself. All of this is to make sure you, myself, and everyone else are continuing to learn, create and share this wonderful craft know as woodworking.
If you would like to hear some of Jake Pilewski or Identical Suns music you can check out their websites. Drop them an email to say “Hi”. I’m sure as an artist they will appreciate the small gesture from people all over this great world.
Jake Pilewski- https://www.reeljp.com/?fbclid=IwAR31SLStzu8itBdthYmipPEh_Q_7HGPytX_-KOXRVYtVOsnHY-MKSDIDQjg
Identical Suns- https://www.amazon.com/Week-Minded-Identical-Suns/dp/B07QG23FJZ
Chad Stanton- Owner of Stanton Fine Furniture