When Welsh woodworker Don Weber came to Paint Lick, Kentucky, he brought a collection of hand tools, experience and knowledge about how to construct furniture using traditional British techniques.
When Weber’s family immigrated to the United States in 1969, Weber stayed in Wales, and at age sixteen, apprenticed to an uncle who ran a joiner’s shop. Weber tracked down William Dean, younger brother of Alec and Owen Dean, the last of Britain’s Bodgers – the old-time woodland spring pole turners who produced turned parts for the chair industry around High Wycombe. Learning their craft, Weber now refers to himself as a Bodger, working with wood from the log instead of the lumberyard, using hand tools such as a beetle, (a large, iron-bound mallet), wedges, and a froe. There are no power tools in his studio, only hand tools such as the shaving horse, draw knife, block planer, side axe, jack plane, and hand drill among many others.
Weber also works in regional schools to keep the knowledge of these old woodworking traditions alive. He is a member of the Association of Pole Lathe Turners, the American Artist Blacksmith Association, and the Timber Framers Guild. Weber has appeared twice on PBS’s “The WoodWright’s Shop” with Roy Underhill. He is a regular contributing writer for trade publications including Popular Woodworking Magazine which has an article by Weber entitled “Traveling Toolbox” in its April, 2005 edition.
Don Weber’s work may be found in homes throughout the region and at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, KY.