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Woodworking Has Worked For Me

by Stephen C. McClintic, Sr.
Roanoke, Virginia

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

The great thing about a hobby is it is done at leisure. There are no deadlines, expectations or assumptions. For more than 40 years, woodworking has been my hobby. I was introduced to the trade in my mid 20s while owning and operating a landscaping planting business. For about a month each year, my business was inactive due to weather. During this downtime, I had the opportunity to further develop my fine woodworking skills by building furniture, picture frames, keepsake boxes and chessboards.

In 1971, I got married, and soon after, started a family. My first child, our daughter Allison, was born in 1972. Our son, Stephen Jr., was born in 1975 and our youngest daughter and son (twins), Stephany and Billy, arrived in 1979 to round out our family. Although I continued my hobby of woodworking, the commitment of parenthood and my job in middle management for a chemical company occupied most of my free time. However, I remained abreast of the latest trends in woodworking by reading niche publications, and when I had the chance, I got back into the small space I had as a woodshop to ensure I kept my skills fine-tuned.

In 2008, I officially retired. I no longer had to be at work at 8 am Monday through Friday. Our children were all grown, married and living on their own raising our grandchildren. So, I had time on my hands.

I thought to myself: "What should I do?"

Woodworking. It was a no brainer.

But I needed space. And I wanted more space than I had ever had.

I did my research and found a distributer in Roanoke, Virginia that sells Amish-made buildings. I value the detail the Amish take in building products, as they use the finest materials. This was especially important to me as wood in its most natural form is what makes such items stand the test of time.

In less than a week, the distributor delivered and set in place my woodshop – my dream woodshop. I engaged a friend of mine – who is an electrician by trade – to help me wire my shop with lights and many outlets. Then I was ready.

Four years later, I am happy to say I have built many items that reflect my commitment to my hobby and family. I have had the pleasure to build frames to showcase pictures of my children and grandchildren. I have built chessboards that I have used to teach my grandchildren the game. I have built cutting boards that have been used to dice and slice foods during family gatherings. I have built high chairs that my grandchildren have sat in for breakfast, lunch and supper. I have built myself a missionary style queen cherry bed that will be passed on from generation to generation.

Although I am retired, I am not done working. But now, my work has a different purpose. And, through the encouragement of my children, family and friends, I am doing something I never thought I would do.

I have recently placed one of my chessboards in a community museum gift shop that sells local, handmade wood products. This is new territory for me; however, I am honored and pleased to have the opportunity to share the passion I have put into my projects with other families. I hope a family will find as much joy in using it as I had in building it.

Below is an overview of some of the items I have built:

The First item is a mission style American cherry queen bed. This was a challenging task and was my first project using a set of plans. The bed is finished in Lacquer.

Next is a mission solid white Oak clock made from just a vision, no plans. The project has a slight cherry stain and lacquer for finish. My elder son has excellent design abilities and he reproduced the dial face and placed our family name on it. His wife had the idea of placing the candle in the space you see where I had a picture (Looks better with the candle, don’t you agree?)

This is a chess board made from black walnut and rock maple with a padauk (African exotic wood) border.

This mission style clock is made from Red Oak complete with pendulum. If you notice the little figures (mice) below the pendulum, my wife put these in place and they have remained for over 25 years.

This project is a highchair made from American Cherry and Rock Maple. I made two, one for my Grandson and the other for my Granddaughter.

Last is my workshop made by the Amish. Its size is rather small (12x20) but adequate.

Steve can be reached by email at .

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