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Meet the Highland Woodworking Instructors


Highland Woodworking's education program attracts many talented and qualified woodworkers and craftsmen willing to impart their knowledge and share their skills with those eager to learn.


Chad Awalt
Since earning his bachelors' degree in Anatomy and Physiology in 1981, Chad has actively pursued his talent for carving by studying under the masters. He is a Colleague of the National Sculpture Society, and his work has been shown all over the country and has won many awards. Visit his website at


Julie Bender
Julie Bender is an accomplished fine artist who is enthralled with pyrography, the art of wood burning. Her work is driven and motivated by her passion for art and nature, the animal and human form. She successfully captures the soul and character of her subjects by bringing to her art work that "especial spark" that sometimes is nothing more than a twinkle in someone's eye, or the mischievous bend in the corner of a smile. Visit her website at


Frank Bowers
The first instructor in our demonstration shop, Frank returns regularly to share his expertise. He is the owner of F.B. Woodthings, Inc. where he turns for fun and profit. Frank's talent earned him a place in the 2001 Juried Exhibition sponsored by Highland Hardware. He also teaches at the John C. Campbell Folk School and is an active member of the Georgia Association of Woodturners.



Charles Brock
Charles has designed and crafted over 200 furniture commissions. The joy of teaching the skills of creating in wood has grounded his life over the past 30 years. His work is greatly inspired by the artistry of Sam Maloof's chairs, Hans Wegner's minimalism, Michael Dunbar's woodworking business model, James Krenov's simplicity, Brian Boggs' development of post and rung chairs, Hal Taylor's ability to figure it out and Roy Underhill's sense of humor and diligence as a teacher. Maloof and Dunbar have both shared their skills and thoughts with him over the years at their workshops.
Charles has been an educator for 30 years (B.S.; M.Ed.; Sp. Ed.). This background has prepared him to communicate and teach the skills of furniture making to a new generation of woodworkers of all ages. Teaching the craftsmanship of woodworking pulls together all his life experiences as a teacher, woodworker and entertainer. Visit his website at


Curtis Buchanan
Curtis has been making Windsor chairs for a living since 1984 and has taught a number of workshops in the U.S. and abroad. He has written articles for and has been featured in Woodwork, Home Furniture, Fine Woodworking and American Woodworker. He is also the co-founder of Greenwood, a community-based sustainable forestry initiative in Latin America. His work can be seen on his web site at


Jane Burke
Jane was born in South Africa and moved to Paraguay in 1987 where she was introduced to marquetry. Since moving to the US in 1996, she has developed her own marquetry technique which she promotes by giving seminars around the US at woodworking shows and clubs and through sales of her DVD, The Art of Marquetry.  Jane has also appeared on several TV shows demonstrating how marquetry is done, as well as having articles published in magazines in the UK, USA and Japan. Jane sells her work through her website,


Jim Dillon
Jim is the proprietor of Spirit Hill Woodworks in Covington, Georgia. He makes custom furniture and short runs of production pieces, and offers individualized woodworking instruction and consultation. His work can be seen at and at the Raiford Gallery in Roswell and Gallery of Fine Wood in Buford.


Mark Duginske
Fourth-generation woodworker Mark Duginske has written 10 woodworking books - including Band Saw Handbook, the best selling band saw book in the world - made instructional videos and has been a contributing editor to Fine Woodworking magazine. Also an inventor, Duginske holds six patents for woodworking machine accessories and recently licensed his patented FastTrak product line to Kreg Tool Company.

Over the last fifteen years he has taught woodworking classes for people of all skill levels from Maine to California, and has now set up his own woodworking school in Wisconsin, Prairie River Woodworking.


Bob Flexner
Bob Flexner has operated his own furniture making and restoration shop in Norman, Oklahoma for 30 years. For the last 15 years, he has taught wood finishing and restoration. His accomplishments include writing the authoritative and best-selling book, Understanding Wood Finishing, now in its second, fully revised edition, editingFinishing and Restoration (Professional Refinishing) magazine, making the award-winning videos, Repairing Furniture and Refinishing Furniture, and writing the long-running columns "Finishing" Woodshop News and "Flexner on Finishing" Popular Woodworking.

Bob is probably best known for defining the products used in wood finishing and organizing them into categories that make them easily understandable.
Frank Klausz
At the age of 14, Frank began his woodworking career in an apprenticeship system that had remained essentially unchanged since the Middle Ages. What was unusual about it, was that Klausz entered into a formal, contractual apprenticeship with his own father. At the end of four years, Frank became a certified journeyman cabinetmaker, on his way to becoming a master (which required one year of work in each of three different shops). Ten years later, Frank and his wife, Edith, packed their lives in three suitcases and left Hungary. Like the journeymen of old, Frank was on the road except that his only tools were his hands and head, not chisels and saws in a toolbox strapped to his back.



Sabiha Mujtaba
Sabiha has been a full-time woodworker and carver for 19 years. She is a member of the Furniture Society, and her work has been shown in American Craft Council Shows, in the Decatur Arts Festival and the ACC Southeast. She was also featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine Design Book Seven. She is represented by Shidoni Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. Visit her website at



Alan Noel
Alan is the proprietor of Noel's Woodworks here in Atlanta and has been a professional furniture restorer for over 25 years. He has extensive experience in a wide range of finishing techniques. He writes regular columns for Finishing and Restoration magazine and for Highland Hardware' s Wood News Onlineā„¢,and has also written for Woodmagazine. Alan has taught his skills  throughout the Southeast and has served as a finishing consultant for various furniture manufacturers.


Toshio Odate
Toshio Odate was born in Japan in 1930 and during the immediate post-war years served an apprenticeship as a maker of sliding doors. He went on to study art and design, and in 1958 was awarded a fellowship for the introduction of traditional Japanese woodworking in the United States, where he has remained.
Over the following four decades, Odate taught industrial design and sculpture at the university level, exhibited his own sculptures, and demonstrated Japanese woodworking techniques and attitudes at many workshops, classes and seminars throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has written articles for Fine Woodworking, American Woodworker, Woodwork and Woodshop Newsmagazines, and is the author of Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit and Use and Making Shoji. Odate has also been featured in several videos and televison productions, including Martha Stewart Living and theWoodwright's Shop. He currently resides in Woodbury, Connecticut.


Hal Simmons
Hal began turning in 1997. He has studied with Nick Cook, Willard Baxter, David Ellsworth, Johannes Rieber, Chris Scott, Soren Berger and Ray Key. He enjoys traditional spindle bowl and hollow form turning using both exotic and domestic woods. Hal is a member of the Georgia Association of Woodturners.



Larry Stout

Growing up in Memphis TN, Larry began carving small figures from bars of Ivory soap with a pocket pen knife and spent many afternoons with his grandfather, whittling on wooden sticks. Working professionally in Architectural and Construction management, Larry continued to hone his carving skills throughout his life, finding great relaxation and serenity from the art of carving. His latest award winning sculptures are unique aquatic scenes created from single pieces of wood titled "Life in the Sea". He works with the existing natural flow and form of a particular wood blank, so the finished carved design seems to organically flow from and integrate with the wood itself.

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