MY JOURNEY TO WOODTURNING...
I grew up in Connecticut and then attended East Carolina University. After graduating, I moved to Raleigh, NC and took what was intended to be a temporary carpenter position with This End Up Furniture Company. I ended up spending the next 19 years making crate-style furniture and helping to create the history and mystique of This End Up.
I became interested in joinery and finely crafted furniture mainly out of embarrassment. When I would tell people that I worked for This End Up Furniture Company, they thought it was absolutely wonderful that I knew how to build furniture! It was painful to explain that all I really did was cut butt joints and nail together various shipping crate style pieces. To learn about true woodworking, I began reading a variety of books and magazines on the topic. I watched Roy Underhill's The Woodwright's Shop and Norm Abrams' New Yankee Workshop religiously, seeking inspiration and direction. I started to collect woodworking tools, experimenting with hand cut dovetails and other joinery techniques. To take advantage of the wealth of experience in the area I joined the local woodworking clubs. During my stint as vice president of The Triangle Woodturners of North Carolina, I developed a passionate and at times distracting interest in woodturning. Shortly thereafter I joined the American Association of Woodturners and the Furniture Society. I have attended many of the national symposiums of both organizations and attended the "Working in Wood in The Eighteenth Century" seminar in Williamsburg, VA sponsored by Fine Woodworking Magazine and The Williamsburg Foundation. I recently returned from the Utah Woodturning Symposium and a week-long workshop with Allan Batty and Bill Jones, two of the world's best turners.
In 1995 This End Up Furniture moved its base of operations out of the area and laid off most of their local workers. Rather than look for another job, I started my own business. Sliding Dovetail Woodworks was born in January of 1996 to focus on building custom furniture and woodturning. At that time, I decided to turn anything that I could think of that had a practical use. I wanted to differentiate myself from the area turners who created bowls, hollow forms, and various other artistic forms of woodturning. I have since branched out into architectural turning as there are few turners interested in turning balusters and other spindle work used in the construction trades. Sliding Dovetail Woodworks is now Leland Studios, as my focus has shifted shifting towards teaching classes and sharing the knowledge I have gained over the years.