Jim has been a woodworker for most of his life. Over the years, he has built two houses, most of the furniture in his current home, his own kitchen cabinetry, a full-size canoe, and a pirogue (a Cajun style boat designed for shallow waters). After retiring in 2002 as a corporate pilot for 30 years, Jim has now found the time to seriously pursue his passion.
Growing up in northern Michigan, Jim always enjoyed the outdoors and developed a real appreciation for the beauty of the hardwoods native to the area. His grandfather spent much time with him telling him the names of all the different trees. Observance of the different wood grains and the uniqueness of each tree led to a curiosity about what kinds of things could be made with these woods. Jim became a great admirer of George Nakashima, author of The Soul of a Tree, who strives to find the ideal use for each plank in order to “create an object of utility to man and, if nature smiles, an object of lasting beauty.”
It was after taking a seminar from Hal Taylor that Jim decided to devote his retirement to making these wonderful chairs for others to enjoy. Hal has become a good friend and mentor. Both Jim and Hal have been inspired by Sam Maloof, who is credited with taking the art of woodworking to new levels. Jim enjoys the preciseness and careful calculations each rocking chair requires to become a quality, beautiful work of art which is also functional and comfortable.
You could say this has carried over from his many years of being a pilot where there is no room for anything less than perfect accuracy.