Hi! this is About ME!
I was born and raised in the Northern reaches of the region known as Appalachia. While the Appalachian areas of Tennessee and Kentucky are more well known, the entirety of the economically disadvantaged Appalachian region reaches from coastal Alabama in the south, to Fulton NY in the north (look it up)
I started making things as a youngster, under my father’s guidance (He was a college professor), Airplanes, model rockets, etc, and in Scouts, whittling, and woodcrafts. And my Mother taught me Sewing and cooking.
I attended college at SUNY Cortland where I struggled but finally earned a BS in Environmental Biology a few years late. Not finding a job in “my field” I took on a temp job in a woodshop in Preble NY and found that I excelled at woodworking and better yet really enjoyed (and it paid a lot more than anything I was getting offered that was Bio related).
Thus: I have been a cabinetmaker since 1982. Mostly I have worked for large cabinetmaking firms, in production shops, all kinds of machinery, whirling blades, CNC, noise, noise, noise, and more noise.
I have always enjoyed working with hand tools as a “hobby” (crazy right? work in a noisy shop all day then handplane furniture parts in my home-shop at night and on weekends). Most folks consider woodworking either a hobby or an occupation. For me it’s an vocation sometimes bordering on an obsession. I started teaching night classes in woodworking for adults in 1988 where I have always stressed the importance of hand tool use.
Since 1998 I have worked more and more with just hand tools, and have been studying the older tools and methods of working with wood.
I had the privilege early in my career to work alongside of several cabinetmakers who learned the craft in Europe, so thank you to: Mr. Nick Raithe (Bavaria), Mr. Mario Gomez and his brother Mr. Rogerio Gomez (Portugal), Mr. Umberto (Italy), Mr. Fahed (Lebanon). But mostly I got my start from Mr. Howard Lindh who ran the theater shop at SUNY Cortland and who taught me how to use a table saw safely.
Today I avoid power tools when I can and focus on making medieval and Early American and other handmade furniture.
Karl F Newman
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