This interview, with Shin, is from October, 2015.
1. What is your “inspiration story” — where did your interest in woodworking all begin?
I would have to say that my interest in woodworking began at my Gandpa Nolen’s house. We spent a LOT of time at my Grandparents’ house, so I would have a lot of time on my hands. Papa always had scrap wood, nails, hammers, and saws, so I would spend time “knocking” stuff together. Later years, my Dad and I would put projects together, such as Pine Wood Derby Cars, push cars, and other odd things.
2. Who is your woodworking mentor and why?
I can’t say that I’ve ever had a woodworking mentor, as I moved away from woodworking in my Junior and High School years. Other than building control line and RC airplanes, I didn’t do any woodworking. I never took wood shop in high school. That came later, when I was in college, working on my Bachelor of Industrial Arts. I became shop teacher, and REALLY had to learn woodworking! :-)
3. Power or hand tools? … and why
Power tools are my favorite. I don’t have the patience to always, or only, use hand tools, although my college Woodworking instructor made us use only hand tools on our first project. I carried this practice over into my wood shop classes, as not everyone can afford, or have access to, power tools. So I, and my students, learned that one can make nice projects with only hand tools.
4. What is your dream project and when do you think you will tackle the challenge?
I’ve already completed my “Dream Project,” when I completed my wood and fabric home-built airplane, a Volksplane, in 1997. I flew it from then until 2009, as far as to Oshkosh, WI, from the DFW area.
5. What is the greatest gift that this craft gives you?
Once I really got into woodworking, I developed the skill to make items that others really admired. I quickly realized how wonderful it was to make something for someone else. I did this, not only as gifts, but also as commissioned projects. It’s a great feeling when someone lovingly rubs their hands over a project, with almost a “Cooing” of appreciation. I appreciate that I can’t do things that others can, and I think those that have bought my work, or received them as gifts, also do. It’s a neat feeling to bring some “Warm and Fussy” feelings to others.
6. What are your “words of wisdom” that you want to pass on to others, especially to beginners?
Words of wisdom? Hmmm. Woodworking isn’t for everybody. I know many folks that tell me that they can do anything with metal, but can’t even imagine working in wood. I’ve also had many a folk tell me that they can to anything with an old car, or electronics, or . . . the list can go on. So woodworking isn’t for everybody, BUT . . . if you find that you are interested, and you can make stuff, there are NO limits to what you can do with wood. You just have to find your area. I know a number of folks that excel at the Lathe, and others in carving, and others in Marquetry, and others in . . . there are SO many areas. Jump in! If you need help, there are folks that can offer you all kinds of support.
All the best, Keith “Shin” Schindler