William Smith can trace woodworking back four generations in his family. One of his favorite pieces is a rolling pin made by his great, great, great grandfather. He distinctly remembers both his Granddaddy and Daddy working wood, mostly out of necessity, but also for pleasure. In fact, his father had built most of the furniture in their house. William’s father built him his own little 8 x 10 foot woodworking shop when he was about 6 years old in order to pass on the joy and utility of knowing this skill.
William grew up (and still lives) in the town of Hurley in Buchanan County. The town’s general store was also the central drop off spot for the school bus. Back at that time, many things came packed in wooden boxes. Of an evening the store would dump empty boxes in a pile to be burned. William remembers running off the school bus and collecting all the boxes that were made of wood. From this scavenged wood, he would make “what not” shelves and could be found as a child going house to house selling his wares. Everything was a dollar and he always sold out! As William grew older, he would buy wood from the local sawmills or, if an old house was torn down, he would save the material to be reused.
“Woodworking has been my hobby for 72 years and it remains a pure pleasure. With eyes and mind and hands working in unison and with focus, I am able to immerse myself in another world, without care or worry. Sitting in the workshop and thinking of what to make–and then being able to make it–is extremely rewarding; it is therapy for the mind and soul.”