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Thread: who are your top five most influential woodworkers?

  1. #1

    who are your top five most influential woodworkers?

    Who are the top five woodworkers who've influenced your work, and what was their influence?

    I asked over in WoodNet and made a list of over 80 different woodworkers the members there cited as influential... here are their top 7 so far:

    1) Norm Abram 27 votes
    2) Dad 14 votes (some great personal stories here...)
    3) David Marks 13 votes
    4) woodnetters 10 votes
    5) Granpa 9 votes (more great stories here...)
    6) shop teacher 7 votes
    7) James Krenov 6 votes

    Note I don't mean in terms of style necessarily - I think Norm won out because it was through his show that so many woodworkers said "I could do that..." Also he was a big influence on folks to buy woodworking tools.

    2 items of note:
    I will definitely be likely to quote someone on influences, and at the least will be unscientifically polling who your top five are and putting them in my list.

    My intention is to create another "ultimate guide" like the safety guide but this one targeting great - and not so well known but still influential - woodworkers.

    If it looks like I'm making things up as I go along... you're right! For example - I kinda sorta asked this question already in the woodworker interviews project thread...

    ...And yes, I will be going after some of the woodworkers on the list for my interviews once those get rolling

    I look forward to reading who YOUR top five most influential woodworkers are! (and NO it doesn't have to be just five... it can be more or less
    I'm the editor of

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    1.) My first boss other than my dad, His name is Charles Rassmussen. Whenever it was too nasty to be framing houses we'd come back to the shop and I'd watch him make stuff. Later on when I became a builder on my own, I'd still stop by Charlies on those nasty days and see what he is building.

    2.) Although my grandpa died when I was only 10, I can remember going out to his shop and seeing what he was working on. My grandpa not only was a farmer but also a sawyer and a builder. Some of his work still stands around the County today in the way of old timber framed barns.

    3.) But like most people my top choice is my Dad... He is 82 and still stays busy with his interests. Dad taught 4-H woodworking for years here in the town I live in. He always told me that when it came to finish work I needed to find a slower gear. My dad to this day comes over to my shop to watch me (see how things turn around from me watching them?) and lend a hand when I need one. Dad passed the woodworking tools his dad gave him on to me about two years ago, and although I am not (now) a Neander I have the utmost pride and respect for those few old tools dad passed to me that were once my Grandpas.

    4.) Norm...who hasn't watched him and felt inspired.

    5.) Not to single out fellow forumites here....but I am amazed at the many members on here that have helped me and others improve our skills in woodworking.
    Last edited by Steve Ash; 02-26-2007 at 08:51 PM. Reason: needed 5
    A very wise man once said.......
    "I'll take my chances with Misseurs Smith and Wesson. "

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    In order, they are:

    1) My Dad (Christopher Pellow) was the most influential –he welcomed me both into the shop and on construction projects as long as I can remember –and that’s when I was 4. Dad gave me real projects and real responsibilities and kids know when that it the case. You can’t fool them with make work projects.

    2) My Uncle Scott (Thomson). My dad died when I was 13 (I was the oldest of 4 children) and Uncle Scott stepped in to help me in many ways. Through him, I learned not to be afraid to tackle anything. We worked together on a number of renovation projects where, at the start, neither of us had a clue as to what the job entailed.

    3) My maternal grandfather (Frank Rosseter) who taught both Uncle Scott and me how to conduct proper research before tackling a project and how to prototype the most difficult and/or dangerous parts. Granddad also had a shop where I was a wanted guest and where he patiently taught me proper hand tool skills.

    4) Several fellow woodworkers on the internet. I started to use the internet for woodworking assistance about four years ago and could easily list 50 things that I have learned on various forums.

    5) Danny Proulx. He is the only popular author that I have learned very much from. I have 6 of his books and will probably buy more. Danny was (I say was because he died about four years ago) a great writer and was very practical. His books contain items of varying degrees of difficulty, so there is something there for everyone and lots of room to grow your skills.
    Cheers, Frank

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    Wow, tough acts to follow.

    • Dad would need to be at the top.
    • Next would be the Greene brothers (or, the shop that executed their designs),
    • Gustav Stickley,
    followed by
    • Norm. Then, in no particular order,
    • Darrell Peart,
    • Mario Rodriguez,
    • Robert Lang.

    Now, that's sure to set a few people off!

    Actually, it's my love of A&C that leads me to those choices. Come back in 5 years and I might change my style and have a new list! Ya never know!
    Last edited by Rennie Heuer; 02-27-2007 at 06:13 PM.
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  5. #5
    The woodworkers who most influenced me would be as follows. My father with a limited amount of general carpentry. Norm influenced my general carpentry skills and building furniture. David Marks inspired me in building furniture with more of an artisan flair using non-wood materials, different styles and unusual methods.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Here is my list:
    1. Uncle (neighbor not related) - that lived around the corner where I grew up
    2. Norm Abram - Been watching since his first day on TOH
    3. James Krenov - One of the finest craftsman I have seen
    4. David Marks - A nice guy with a lot of talent
    5. Mark Singer - He does some cool stuff with wood

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    N.E. Arkansas
    1. My grandpa, never got to work with him much but I was always interested in what he was doing. I've got a bunch of his old tools.
    2. My father in law, spent loads of time with him working on everything from fencing to fine woodworking. A patient man he was
    3. Norm
    4. Mack Hackworth, former co-worker. Mack hacks out a lot of stuff but he sure knows his machinery.
    5. Like some others have mentioned, the numerous friends that I've found on the internet since first participating in woodworking discussions over 10 years ago. It's hard to believe it's been that long.
    I once heard that cats and women will do darn well what they please and that men and dogs would do well to accept it and just go on.

  8. #8
    Steve Clardy Guest
    I've only got three.

    2 of my high school shop teachers.
    I took everything I could in shop, including three years of woodworking.
    Those 2 teachers could build, do anything.
    From plywood speed boats to jewelry boxes.

    Third on my list, now gone sad to say, was one of my uncles.
    He was another that could make, do anything in wood. He mainly did restoration work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    I am the first woodworking in my family and have never had the chance to learn from anyone else first hand. Self taught mostly.

    But Norm, naturally. Like everyone I have watched him and learned things from him.

    Countless craftsman and hackers on the forums, web sites. magazines, TV etc. that are nameless.

    Stickly, Greene and Greene and many others of the Arts and Crafts era. Many of whom names are long forgotten but their work is still here.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  10. #10
    how about
    Roy Underhill?
    shop teacher
    Stu, I haven't seen any of his work but I like the ideas he comes up with
    Turning makes the world go a'round

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