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Wiley's Woodworks

Waynesville, NC

Home In The Mountains

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I grew up with tools in my hands, but most of my work was fixing something that was broken or keeping things running. Pretty mundane stuff. Now, I am inspired by the opportunity to create after a lifetime of repairing and crude construction just to get the job done.

Taking on the challenge of learning the art of making fine furniture disrupted my life, taxed my brain, and rewired my thinking when I am staring at a woodworking project. I inspect wood for the necessary trueness of grain and color, moisture content, strength, and weight of the wood species; I measure 1/64" increments to make tight joints and square frameworks; my tools are calibrated to 1/10 of a degree for perfectly fitting miter corners; every cutting edge is sharpened to a shave-my-arm edge so microscopic wood fibers are cut cleanly, not torn; I have seven different types of glue (who knew); I might progress through six grits of sandpaper to get just the right look and feel on my wood; I obsess over mixtures of finish and stain to get a perfect color match. All of this is good; it is part of what it takes to develop an absurdly sharp eye for craftsmanship and detail.

Woodworking gives me the opportunity to be creative - to make something that didn't exist before I imagined it. This is thrilling. I have an innate appreciation for things that function and work, that do something, and that last.

Reclaiming old items or pieces and repurposing them into something totally different and useful keeps me going in the never-ending search for my next product, and yes, there is a thrill in the chase. Woodworking lets me put all these motivations together: Find something that is no longer useful, design something around it that makes it useful, and build it to last. If your first response is, "That's clever. I can use it." then my reward is complete.

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