ToolCrib.com recently asked the WoodNet, FamilyWoodworking and LumberJocks forums who were their TOP FIVE most influential woodworkers. After tallying their votes we had a list of over 100 different “most influential” woodworkers.
Here’s the WoodNet thread.
Here’s the thread in FamilyWoodworking.
And here’s LumberJocks.
Of these, 31 received 2 or more mentions, and so that’s who we investigated for this first part of the series to WoodNet, FamilyWoodworking’s and the LumberJocks’ influential woodworkers.
We created this guide in the hopes that:
1) it would lead you to influential woodworkers whose work could inspire your next project
2) you’d consider joining WoodNet, FamilyWoodworking and LumberJocks for guidance and advice in your future woodworking projects
Future “Most-Influential” Releases
Unfortunately over 70 influential woodworkers didn’t make this current most influential woodworkers guide. What I’d like to do over the next few weeks is continue polling folks – I’d love to hear from you in comments on this page or in email: GFrench@ToolCrib.com.
I’ll add votes to the existing stats and then start to write – most likely in groups of ten – mini guides to the rest of the “most influential woodworkers.”
I’ll also be asking a number of blogs to participate, and if you’re in a forum I didn’t mention please ask your fellow woodworkers there and let me know about the results.
You’ll find changes to THIS guide as well as new guides to other influential woodworkers. You can find updates to the guide in our blog and the ToolCrib.com email newsletter.
And so without further ado I offer – for your inspiration – ToolCrib.com’s Guide to Your 31 Most Influential Woodworkers:
1) Norm Abram – 36 Votes
“The man in plaid…”
Many woodworkers cite “Nahm” as a strong initial woodworking influence, and “someone who convinced me to invest in my tools.” Many said they were especially impressed with Norm Abram’s wood shop.
More from Norm
Abram still hosts the New Yankee TV show.
A This Old House interview with Norm Abram
New Yankee Workshop Web Cam
The New Wookie Workshop “Keeping Up with Norm Abram”
2) Dad – 21 Votes
For many woodworkers their earliest influence is their strongest. “Dad” came in second as most influential woodworker and the reasons why are often very personal.
Here are links to some individual forum posts on why Dad was such an influential woodworker:
Influential Woodworking Dad 1 (FW)
Influential Woodworking Dad 2 (WN)
Influential Woodworking Dad 3 (WN)
3) David Marks – 19 Votes
David Marks is the host of Woodworks on the DIY Network. His style wasn’t always appreciated – a little too contemporary for most folks’ taste – but his craft won him so many votes as most influential.
More from Marks
Wood Works program description
David Marks bio
David Marks vs. Marc Spagnuolo
David Marks Portfolio
ORLANDO BBQ WITH DAVID MARKS
4) online woodworking community – 15 Votes
It figures… We polled woodworking forums after all ;) Seriously – I think good advice and great influences are the glue that binds the best woodworking forums out there.
If you feel like your woodworking has reached a plateau, strongly consider joining WoodNet.net, FamilyWoodworking or LumberJocks for a nice friendly kick in the seat of your saw dusty pants.
5) Grandpa – 14 Votes
Grandpas made it to the top five for their early and powerful influence on the Woodnet and Family Woodworking woodworkers.
Here are a few of my favorite Grandpa stories (one just a sentence) from those who contributed their stories:
Grandpa Story 1
Grandpa Story 2
Grandpa Story 3
6) Shop Teacher – 12 Votes
Shop teachers, both from high school and continuing adult education, have had a major impact on the Family Woodworking and WoodNet folks. Some woodworkers, such as James Krenov below, were also well-known teachers.
Some personal stories about influential wood shop teachers:
Shop teacher 1
Shop teacher(s) 2
7) James Krenov – 7 Votes
This Russian cabinet maker has an interesting past and is undeniably a master of woodworking. Many woodworkers cited his books as highly influential as well.
More from Krenov
The official James Krenov site.
transcripts of Krenov interview done by the Smithsonian
WoodCentral Interview with Krenov
8) John Fry – 6 Votes
Why did WoodNet’s John Fry make it into the top ten? It’s not just his over 2000 helpful and influential posts… it’s his work. Check out John Fry’s Woodworking projects!
More from John Fry:
His WoodNet Profile Page
His website Chisel and Bit.
9) Uncle – 6 Votes
Uncles made the list in a major way too – and again, as strong early influences in the development of many woodworkers.
Here are stories of uncles that had influence on woodworking:
Frank Pellow’s Uncle
Uncle Story 2
10) Tage Frid – 5 Votes
This Danish born woodworker immigrated to the US in 1948. His book, Tage Frid teaches woodworking, remains a major influence on woodworkers today. He taught at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1962- 1985.
More from Tage Frid:
Tage Frid’s RISD profile
Tage Frid in Wikipedia
A Tage Frid Inspired Workbench
Tage Frid sharpening a scraper (video)
11) Sam Maloof – 5 Votes
“Whatever I’m working on, I get excited. It does not matter whether I have done the same piece many times. I still can’t wait to get out to the shop in the morning.” – Sam Maloof
His rockers sell for $25k up. Yet David Marks said upon meeting
now departed (he’s alive. my apologies for my confusion on this, and for any scares I may have caused) Mr. Maloof, “he remains a humble, down to earth gentleman who is very friendly and giving of himself.”
More about Maloof:
Sam Maloof tribute
Sam Maloof foundation
quotations and works of Sam Maloof
David Marks visits with Sam Maloof
12) Gustav Stickley – 5 Votes
Gustav Stickley (1858-1942) was a vocal proponent of the American Craftsman movement and a strong influence on Frank Lloyd Wright. Simplicity of form and originality rule in Stickley’s workshop.
More from Gustav Stickley:
Gustav Stickley (and his brothers) furniture for sale
Gustav Stickley Bio
Gustav Stickley and The Craftsman Home
Gustav Stickley in Wikipedia
13) Roy Underhill – 4 Votes
“The confidence of humankind is based not on superior strength or speed but on our abilities to shape the materials of our environment and to communicate our experiences. With each swing of the axe, each joining of the wood, you build and preserve within you the living memory of this timeless trade.” – Roy Underhill
Roy Underhill is a cheerful proponent of hand tools on his shows and in his work as a consultant to movies that want to portray accurate woodworking before power tools. His show, The Woodwright’s shop, came on PBS.
More from Roy Underhill:
A Quarter Century of Subversive Woodworking
his bio from The Woodwright’s Shop
A video of Roy Underhill from Taunton (scroll down on page)
Roy Underhill in Wikipedia
14) Marc Adams – 4 Votes
The Marc Adams School of Woodworking made the list with three votes from WoodNet and FamilyWoodworking – impressive considering it’s in Indianapolis.
More from Marc Adams:
The Marc Adams School of Woodworking
Instructors Project Images from the Marc Adams school
15) Greene Brothers – 3 Votes
Greene and Greene were highly influential early 20th century architects. “Their style wedded practical comfort and fine art into a refined, crafted masterpiece in which every detail contributed to the overall subtlety of the work, essentially a masterpiece of design.” (from Wikipedia entry)
More from the Greene Brothers:
Greene and Greene virtual archives
The Gamble House
Greene and Greene from Wikipedia
16) Jim Tolpin – 3 Votes
Woodworking author Jim Tolpin has taught many his methods of woodworking. He seems to have stayed away from the video camera in favor of the pen.
More from Jim Tolpin:
Group Chat with WoodCentral
Review of Built-In Furniture by Jim Tolpin
Many books by Jim Tolpin
17) Tom Silva – 3 Votes
This Old House’s Tom Silva is another woodworking icon from television. According to Wikipedia: “Russell Morash, the creator of This Old House, discovered the Silva crew while they were conducting a major restoration on an 1845 Greek Revival-style house. It was then that Russ named Silva and his crew the general contractors for the show.”
More from Tom Silva:
Tom Silva Interview
Tom Silva in wikipedia
18) WalnutGuy – 3 Votes
WalnutGuy aka Jack Hutchinson is a regular at WoodNet. I couldn’t find a home website for him.
More from WalnutGuy:
Check out the joint project between Jack Fry and WalnutGuy.
And here’s his WoodNet profile page.
19) George Reid – 2 Votes
Master furniture builder AND carver, George Reid remains a major woodworking influence.
More from George Reid:
A Lifetime of the Finest Work
There’s a tour of his shop in this book from WoodCentral
About George Reid’s American Woodshop episode
20) The Shakers – 2 Votes
“Shaker furniture is widely admired for its simplicity, innovative joinery, quality, and functionality.”
21) Bob Feeser – 2 Votes
Bob Feeser, aka RFeeser, is another WoodNet regular who’s offered much helpful advice over the course of his 13,000 posts there.
More from RFeeser:
RFeeser’s WoodNet Profile
The Catch 22s of Hand Planes
22) Thomas Lie-Nielsen – 2 Votes
Master tool maker Thomas Lie-Nielsen is the CEO of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. More than that though, he helps others carry on precision woodworking by continually improving the designs of traditional hand tools.
More from Thomas Lie-Nielsen:
Chat room conversation: “Modern Hand-Plane Design and Manufacturing”
Interview with Toolmaker Thomas Lie-Nielsen
Lie-Nielsen Toolworks: 25 Years of Bronze, Iron and Grit
23) Mack Headley – 2 Votes
Mack Headley is well known for his period recreations of furniture from the 18th Century.
More from Mack Headley:
Mack Headley: Learning and Teaching 18th Century Craftsmanship
photos of work by Mack S. Headley and Sons
Mack Headley working the the Hay Shop in Colonial Williamsburg
24) Rob Millard – 2 Votes
Rob Millard builds astounding reproductions of period furniture, thanks to a falling roof truss on a job site…
More from Rob Millard:
Federal Furniture Causes Life Detour Back to Woodworking
Rob Millard’s home page (with photos of his work)
Interview of Rob Millard with Society of American Period Furniture Makers: the Newburyport Shelf Clock
25) The Router Workshop guys – 2 Votes
The Router Workshop is a popular PBS woodworking show that started in 1995. And a popular website. And a popular forum.
More about the Router Workshop:
The Router Workshop home page
Router Workshop forums
26) Philip C. Lowe – 2 Votes
Another master of woodworking and the Director of his Furniture Institute of Massachusetts.
More from Philip C. Lowe:
His Furniture Institute of Massachusetts
Fitting a Twisted Drawer
Sharpening Curved Scrapers
A Printable Cutlist
The scraper can replace a stack of sandpaper
27) Lonnie Bird – 2 Votes
Another master craftsman, and master of the period piece, Lonnie Bird runs his own school too.
More from Lonnie Bird:
Lonnie Bird’s School of Fine Woodworking
How to make an 18th-century style pad foot without a lathe
4 minute clip from Woodcraft–Mastering Dovetails DVD
Lonnie Bird Gallery
WoodCentral’s Lonnie Bird Chat
10 Edge Treatments for Furniture (pdf)
28) Kelly Mehler – 2 Votes
Kelly Mehler, of Berea, KY, runs the Kelly Mehler School of Woodworking
More from Kelly Mehler:
Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking
Kelly Mehler’s Furniture Portfolio
Table saw Splitters and Blade Covers
Craftsmanship Done Safely (pdf)
Cabinet Saws: Shop Stalwart (pdf)
29) Judy Ditmer – 2 Votes
Judy Ditmer is a master wood turner but has not developed her online presence very much.
Here are a few Judy Ditmer pieces.
30) Scott Phillips – 2 Votes
Scott Phillips was the host of American Woodshop, which has apparently changed its name to American HomeShop.
More from Scott Phillips:
Scott Phillips, a Genuine American Woodworker
Oak Hall Tree Project by Scott Phillips
31) Jeff Jewitt – 2 Votes
A master finisher, Jeff Jewitt runs Homestead Finishing Products, refinishes furniture and travels the country teaching and lecturing on finishing techniques.
More from Jeff Jewitt:
How To Repair Furniture Joints
Jeff Jewitt Biography
Articles by Jeff Jewitt
A Seminar and Interview with Jeff Jewitt
Top 5 Most Influential Woodworkers Response
Marc Spagnuolo’s (the Wood Whisperer) top 4 most influential woodworkers
Joel Hess’s (Woodworking Online’s editor) Top 2 most influential woodworkers
Who’s Missing from this List?:
Help grow the list of most influential woodworkers by commenting on this page or starting your own list on your forum or blog about your personal top five most influential woodworkers. Be sure to send a link to GFrench@ToolCrib.com so we can keep count and include you in future write ups!
This is unbelievably cool. But hrm… Feeser’s on here, and deservedly…. I gotta start being nicer and smarter…. crap.
i am dissappointed not to see george nakashima in the list. i would have imagined he’d be in the top 5.
How about Paul Roman, founder of Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding? And Don Peschke, founder of Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and WoodNET? For more information go to http://www.WoodworkingOnline.com
…Garrett French is at it again over at the ToolCrib.com blog. He’s compiled a list of the “5 Most Influential Woodworkers” based on input from folks at a couple of forums, including the WoodNet forum. Like any list, it may be more interesting for who was left off, than who was included. I’d like to mention a couple of people who weren’t on the list, but in my opinion, should be placed right near the top.
Don Peschke and Paul Roman.
Read more here…http://www.woodworkingonline.com/
adam, I count that as a vote for Nakashima… he had one vote in my previous count. Your’s makes it 2.
Don Peschke and Paul Roman are on the list too – thanks to the WoodWorking Online guys for stopping by!
Keep your suggestions coming – and please let me know if you start this thread on your forum or on your blog so I can stay in touch with what your community’s votes are.
What?!! How about the great American masters…John Townsend and John Goddard!
Leonard Lee, Founder of Lee Valley Tools and Veritas. has my vote as a big influence.