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After School: the Woodworker

By Net Assets posted 05-23-2019 07:41 AM

wood carvings coffee grinders

Leadership |

This business officer can’t get enough of wood’s natural beauty or time in the workshop.

Article by Stuart Guy, Crossroads Academy

From the May/June 2019 Net Assets magazine

Feature image: Grinders made by Stuart Guy

It all started about 15 years ago with a used wood lathe, along with some instructions on how to turn wood on it safely. I had done some general carpentry as an adult, but I hadn’t done anything creative in many years, not since I was a kid doing the “Draw Me” challenges that appeared on matchbooks. At the time, I lived in Vermont, where wood is everywhere, and the lathe inspired me to get creative again. I started learning more about woodworking and looking for affordable ways to acquire the tools to do it. I got a bandsaw from a buddy, a used jointer from my brother, and over time also a drill press, carving chisels, planes, clamps, vises, an air filter, the list goes on and on. Soon I had a whole workshop full of tools, a long list of completed projects, and a head swimming with the things I wanted to make next.

In the workshop, I put on my headphones to block out the noise and enjoy being alone, just turning the wood and thinking creatively.

I haven’t set up a workshop in my new home yet, but I will soon. Woodworking is a nice complement to my work as a business officer because it’s such a different brain challenge. I’m analytical all day, looking at computer screens and taking and making phone calls. In the workshop, by comparison, I put on my headphones to block out the noise and enjoy being alone, just turning the wood and thinking creatively. And by the time I leave, I’ve actually made something — or at least made a good start on something.

Here are some of my favorite pieces: 

And here are some notes on those pieces:

coffee table
Guy made this flaming red birch coffee table using wood a friend gave him when he turned 50. "It sat in my shop for 10 years before I did anything with it. The wood grains were just amazing. I also made a cedar bench using the same wood."

A coffin for five dogs. “My wife’s sister is into show dogs. Three of her five dogs have passed away. She had them cremated, but wanted something to keep them in. The wood is mahogany. I added a piano hinge and handles. She has it in her living room now, and it looks like a storage chest.”

Stuart Guy is business manager at Crossroads Academy, a K–8 school with 138 students in Lyme, New Hampshire. He lived and worked in Vermont for many years before moving to New Hampshire in 2018.
We’d love to hear from you! In After School, business officers share a passion or perspective from outside their usual working hours. Want to contribute? Email In the subject line, type AFTER SCHOOL.

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