Member Profiles

Our Members are our greatest assets.  This is a chance to learn more about our members and their interests.

Each month, we will feature one or two member profiles. To view past profiles, please click HERE.

Current Featured Members

Stephen Parsons

Stephen is the current Chair of AWA who describes himself as a lifelong learner in the woodshop.

Stephen with new lathe tools

 

Here is how Stephen answered our questionnaire:

What is your occupation? Manager for Curriculum at the Community College

How long have you been a woodworker?  Started in childhood, but got away from it for some time and came back to it this past 10-12 years.

How did you get started in woodworking? My Dad was a very talented guy who was a real renaissance man – able to turn his hand to almost anything and do it well. But his love for working with wood infected me with an interest at an early age. Although I got away from it for a number of years, it was Dad’s work in restoring antiques – and particularly antique guns – that got me thinking about it again and gradually building up a suite of tools and skills that made woodworking a favorite avocation again.

What is your favourite tool? Depends on the day for me. I have been re-discovering lathe work this past two years and so my Craftex CX 801 is often one tool that I enjoy getting to. But I think my work with routers this past few years probably makes it a favorite kind of tool for me. It is a very versatile tool and I now have five or six routers – table mounted, fixed and plunge type, and even some smaller palm routers and rotary tools that I enjoy working with and experimenting with.

What is your area(s) of specialty? I am still developing my skills. At present, I’d say that games and models are probably my forte. I built a box-joint jig I like to work with so box-making and box-joint joinery is something I am known for, I guess. I also have some expertise with 3d modelling software like Trimble SketchUp and this is something I have been teaching for a couple of years as a way to design and produce woodworking plans.

Stephen shows off his model-making skills – The ‘Burban 2015

What is your preferred type of project? I am always happy to get a commission for almost anything that presents a new challenge where I can feel confident I have the basic equipment and skills, but also an opportunity to learn and grow.

Tell us about a special successful project. I recently built a model of a Chev Suburban SUV which was a challenging piece of work having over 140 individual parts to cut and shape and many unusual angles and cuts. It came together beautifully and my client was really impressed.

What piece of advice would you like to give a new woodworker? Safety, safety, safety! Whether you are working with power tools or hand tools, you are working with sharp instruments and many potential hazards. It is such a fun hobby, but it can be spoiled quickly by an accident from inattention, poor planning, or fatigue. You can’t be too safe in your shop. Make “safety first” your primary rule and you can enjoy woodworking for many years.

Gary Dumas

We started our series of feature profiles with our (now) past chair, Gary Dumas of Dartmouth.  If you have been to any meetings, you will know Gary and his work, which always includes some interesting design elements.

Gary sharing some of the secrets of his organized shop during the Sept. AWA shop tour.

Gary sharing some of the secrets of his organized shop during the September 2015 AWA shop tour.

 

Here is how Gary answered our questionnaire:

What is your occupation?    Retired from the R.C.N.

How long have you been a woodworker?    As long as I can remember.

How did you get started in woodworking?    My dad was a stone mason/bricklayer and was always doing projects but it just seems like this is something I’ve always done with varying degrees of success. Back in the early 70’s, I hard the pleasure of working with a very skilled woodworker (Boyd Littlewood) who had forgotten more than I will ever know. He helped me along with some of my first projects .

What is your favourite tool?  My favorite tool or thing is the radio. I find it hard to concentrate in the absolute silence of the shop. Favorite tools really depend on the project, so that’s why you just need more and more tools.

a tote Gary designed from an image he saw online and presented as part of an AWA monthly challenge.

A sample of work. This is a tote Gary designed from an image he saw online and presented as part of an AWA monthly challenge.

What is your area(s) of specialty?   I only wish.

What is your preferred type of project?  Just stuff in general with a lean toward the modern look.

Tell us about a special successful project.  A rocking horse for my first grandchild

What piece of advice would you like to give a new woodworker?  Do what you love … Love what you do.