David J. Tilson, Woodworker
About Me

Read About Why I Do What I Do.

The Shop(s)

The Store
The furniture and other larger items I make are custom made to order, and operating a physical storefront just for pens would not currently be a winning proposition for me, so my retail store is entirely online for the time being.

The Workshop
My workshop is currently located in the garage of my home. It's not big, but it's big enough to tackle just about anything I can foresee building anytime soon. I find that using hand tools can be a big space saver sometimes. It reduces the number of large machines, jigs and patterns that I would otherwise need to keep around in order to allow me to do some of the same jobs with power tools that I currently accomplish with some rather simple hand tools.

The Business

At present, my woodworking business is a part-time affair, and the rest of the time I work at a local specialty woodworking hardware store. I do hope to be able to build the business into a full time venture, but given the current economic and bureaucratic climate, that won't be happening this year. Nevertheless, I strive to continue turning out top-quality products and customer service, and to pursue the art of woodworking with a passion.

A double exposure of me in my shop, with a few favorite tools.

The Woodworker

A group photo of the corporate office staff.

Well, there's Me, Myself, and I. That's about it; sort of a one-man show here.

I have been a self-taught woodworker for over twenty years now, having learned to work wood by reading books and magazines, then building skills and trying out different techniques by making small projects and sample pieces. Since I started out with a very small shop and only a couple of small power tools, I initially concentrated on making small, carved boxes with hand tools, often using wood gathered from local street and park trees that had been cut down.

My shop has grown, and I now have a nearly full complement of power tools. I still enjoy using hand tools most of all, and, like the craftsmen of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th Century, I have found a balance between using electrical and muscle power to produce tight-fitting joinery and to get glass-smooth surfaces quickly. My shop space has grown, and so have many of the projects I work on, which now include furniture, cabinets and built-in furniture, accessories, boxes, and lathe-turned items such as bowls, boxes, and fine writing instruments. I still like to use locally harvested wood, but I often find myself running to the lumberyard instead of the lumber stack on cabinet and furniture projects, due to the small dimensions of lumber available from local trees.

One hobby that has come about as a result of my woodworking is my interest in photography. What started out as a desire to get better pictures of my projects for a portfolio soon developed into a hobby, while my hobby of woodworking developed into a full-time passion for creating functional art from wood. All of the photography on my website is my own (unless otherwise noted), and now photography has become part of my own “fitness program,” as I hike across the wild lands of Southern California photographing landscapes and historical sites. Hiking and hand tools are about the only exercise I seem to get these days…

Another hobby of mine is collecting woodworking-related information of all sorts, much of which I add to my Woodworking Reference Library site in my free time. I've been building a database of woods that may be used for woodworking over the last ten years, and so far, I have collected information on over 1300 distinct tree species, with more being added all the time. One day, I may find a way to post all this information online for other woodworkers to use, but I don't currently have the time or software to compile and upload a database that large. :-(