“Show us a man who never makes a mistake and we will show a man who never makes anything. The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass.”
- Herman Lincoln Wayland
Michael James has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. At an early age, he discovered The New Yankee Workshop with Norm Abram and was fascinated by all the tools and the amazing furniture that could be built. However, due to family circumstances, he wasn’t able to pursue woodworking often and did not get heavily involved until he was in his thirties.
It started with picture framing. As a professional photographer, Michael decided to frame his prints himself rather than pay someone else to do it. After purchasing some basic tools from Canadian Tire, he began to teach himself how to build picture frames from barn wood and other rustic materials. Quickly, he learned the term “rustic” can also mean beginner (haha!). Well, maybe not beginner, but “rustic” allows for more mistakes and gaps than fine furniture does.
As he built frames, interest in larger items began to surface. At the same time, his second child was on the way, and, as in many woodworker’s lives, the need for more furniture breeds the need to build. The first major project, a murphy bed, was done to provide a guest space in the basement for grandparents and other family members to sleep when visiting. That project lead to a set of coffee/end tables, a bunk bed for his son, and an entertainment centre for the recently renovated basement.
Now, with the new shop and an expanded set of tools, Michael has moved into more fine furniture building, attempting furniture design, and turning. Many of his pens have been sold to clients throughout western Canada and he is slowing growing his business to help with the relatively expensive endeavour woodworking has become.