How did you pick up your skills in wood crafting?
As a child, I lived on a farm with my grandparents, and they taught me to do things. If I didn’t complete them, things did not get done, and they were not going to pay someone else to do it. So, I learned my skills from my grandparents.
What advice do you have for students or individuals who may be considering pursuing skilled trades?
As someone who learned skilled trades in high school, my recommendation is to just take things slowly. Absorb all the information, and be willing to do things the right way.
What’s your biggest career accomplishment to date?
When I first got started, I said I wanted to make as many Christmas gifts as possible. Seeing everyone’s reaction and happiness to something I had made myself is probably my biggest accomplishment.
What’s one misperception that people have about your job?
Woodworking can look easy. People on social media can make it look easy but it really is not. There is a lot of skill and thought that goes into making something functional. Making art – that takes a different set of skills – but making a usable piece takes time and effort to get right, and to know it is going to last the test of time.
What are your future aspirations?
Long term, it would be to get a nice house and restore it, such as a Colonial or Victorian styled house - completely refurnish it, make it look original but with modern touches. Then I’d probably purchase a sawmill and start doing everything by hand. Basically, take the tree down, turn it into lumber, turn the lumber into something... the full process.
Why are you #MakerProud?
Anybody can be a maker. You just have to find the thing that speaks to you. I ran a podcast called The Maker Vision Podcast. I never thought I would be a podcast person, and I never thought I would be a maker - and there I was. It was a dream I never thought would be a reality. So that’s why I'm proud, because I saw it through.
“Anybody can be a maker. You just have to find the thing that speaks to you.”
Find Stephen on Instagram at @oldsouthwoodcraft.