I have enjoyed woodworking all of my adult life, but it all began much earlier. I remember reverently my first pinewood derby car in cub scouts and the great joy I had in making something with my hands. From that point forward I knew I would be working with my hands for the rest of my life.
To that end, I attended the University of South Dakota for my undergraduate education and completed by training there in 3 years prior to getting my Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Minnesota in 1997. I chose my profession because I love to learn, fix, create, and explore with both my mind and my hands. At the same time I married my wife Peggy and we began a family.
During my time in school I didn't get to do much building except for the occasional piece of furniture that my family could use. I received a Health professional scholarship during from the US Army and lived in Hawaii, Texas, Louisiana, and Germany over the course of five years. During each of those stays I learned how each culture used the wood available to them to create furniture and accessories special to them.
Each military base also had it's own woodworking shop and I was able to become accomplished with a large number of tools which I couldn't afford on my own. Each woodshop had a dedicated woodworking instructor assigned to it, and I took every opportunity to try woods native in that region while learning the specific way each region fabricated their pieces.
I received my honorable discharge before moving back to the midwest where I grew up to begin my career in dentistry and woodworking. In the process of moving back I carried a large truckload of red oak, cypress, and sweet gum with my furniture on my way home from Louisiana. Shortly after moving back I and a couple of other gentlemen started the Siouxland Woodworkers Guild which I was president of for a number of years. I attended a formal apprenticeship in woodworking with a master woodworker during the same time who had previously been foreman of National Woodworks and continued to make pieces that I liked or other people needed. I went back to Europe shortly after that and learned woodcarving and sculpting in Austria at their national school "buildhauer" program.
My education blossomed and I started writing under the "Guild of Master Craftsmen" and published multiple times in American Router, Wood Magazine, and American Woodworker. One of the most memorable times with teaching and writing was being invited to Wood Magazine headquarters to teach their staff about the many figures of wood with my children watching.
It was in europe that I gained my love of precision woodworking and fine pieces. With space at a premium everything had to be "special" or it just wasn't worth taking up the space in your home. Each family would have one plate, fork, knife, and cup which was cleaned after each meal. The plate was made of wood and I loved the simplicity of their life and design ideas.
In 2006 I received the most technically accomplished award at the Northern Woods Woodworking exhibition through the Minnesota Woodworking Guild for the piece shown below.
Fine Woodworking Magazine judged and presented the awards. The piece has turned feet, a base carved to appear as a tree with branches holding the top, and a twenty one piece bookmatch of burl veneer that I harvested myself in ash from my yard. This is a true tour de force in woodworking requiring almost every tool in a woodshop.
I continued expanding my knowledge of woodworking and formed a cooperative with Ray Sturdevant M.D. a pediatrician and friends from Sioux City Iowa. Our "Wood Docs" company kept growing until we grew larger than either of us could manage. Today I have shrunk the business to a manageable size with the website www.hardtofindwood.com with just a few sawmills, wood kilns, and wood yards throughout the country.
I have enjoyed teaching at woodworking shows, Rocklers, Woodcrafts, and been invited to present lectures on multiple woodworking topics over a number of years and am excited to share what I can in Sioux Falls. As an owner of a cnc router, cnc laser, kilns, sawmills, and a chainsaw my knowledge has been called upon for almost any part of wood processing.
For the past ten years I have been able to source the finest woods in the country which aren't normally seen in the "Dakotas". With orders coming from around the country and interior designers driving to bring clients to see the secret stash I finally made the commitment to start a shop in Sioux Falls where I live so that everyone could enjoy what I have for years.
I enjoy teaching and have formed the makerspace cooperative with Rachel Ryerson a fellow dedicated "woody" to accomplish the goal of bringing the joy of wood, making, and woodworking to the Sioux Falls community.
I've been married to my wife Peggy for 21 years and we have 4 children (Morgan 18), (Sidney 16), (Johana 11), and (Joshua 9). You may see them around with Rachel's kids. If you do, say hi!
Come make with us. www.siouxfallswoodworking.com