Throughout most of my adult working career I owned my own businesses. Prior to retiring in 2009, at the age of 67, I was a design and build general contractor focusing on commercial building construction. One thing that made owning my own businesses so rewarding was learning new things and taking on new challenges. So I knew when I retired I would have to find a way to satisfy my urge for learning. My wife had suggested that I finish up the wood shop that I had started several years before retiring. I didn’t need much more prompting than that to get everything rolling forward. I finished my 4000 square foot shop/warehouse and launched into woodworking full time.
My interest in woodworking started in Junior High School where I took a few classes and I still have a couple of the projects that I completed back then. I knew I had all the basic skills but I had plenty to learn. I started my shop with the basic equipment, a contractor’s table saw, a drill press and a single bench. This was enough to get me going with building basic furniture and other flat woodworking projects. Over time, I added more equipment into the shop which allowed me to create more intricate and complex furniture with a lot more speed and accuracy.
Still looking to improve my skills, I joined the Colorado Woodworkers Guild (CWG) in 2010 and took every class they had to offer. I wanted to learn as much as I could. In addition, I joined the Front Range Woodturners and the Pikes Peak Woodturners clubs. With the knowledge I gained from those clubs, I started turning all kinds of bowls from segmented, to stack-laminated, and to closed form hollow bowls.
I have always enjoyed working with hand tools so I began to enhance my collection of hand tools by adding various types of planes, chisels and files. These tools are extremely handy and countless times I have found that hand tools can do the job more efficiently and accurately than using a power tool. With these new tools, it allowed me to pursue another interest of mine, Greene and Greene furniture. I attended a class in the Seattle area on Greene and Greene construction techniques and built my first coffee table. My skills had developed to the point where I felt like I could teach a couple of different classes. I started teaching Woodworking 101, Woodworking 102, keepsake boxes, joinery and Greene & Greene furniture classes for the CWG.
Continuing my quest for new knowledge and skills, I started looking into CNC machines in early 2014. I came across a lot of different machines but in most cases the key machinery was made out of weaker materials from China which didn’t interest me. I started reading through different trade magazines and searching the internet. I also came up with a set of criteria that I wanted in a new machine/company, namely, provide training up front, after market support, components manufactured in the US and stood completely behind their product. One evening I remembered that I saw Legacy Woodworking Machinery (a CNC manufacturer), at the Denver “Wood Show” I attended years earlier. I gave Legacy a call the first thing the next morning and found them to be very helpful with technical information and running different types of software on the machine. After the discussion, I realized they had met all my criteria. Even though deep down I knew they were the right choice, I spent another month researching a few other possibilities but nothing compared to Legacy. Because I had reached out to them to get information, they had added me to one of their email distribution lists. I received an email one day from Legacy stating that Andy Anderson (owner of Legacy) was going to hold a three day seminar at a high school in Fort Garland, Co. They were more than willing to provide training even though I hadn’t purchased a machine. After attending the seminar, I was convinced that the Legacy was the machine for me and I ordered a Legacy Arty 58 Pro 5-axis machine with a water cooled spindle and Aspire software by Vectric the following week.
While waiting for my machine to arrive, I attended the two day training class that Legacy offers at the factory. This session was a great kicking off point and plus it allowed me to put faces to the names of all the folks I had been speaking with at Legacy for the past few months. It was wonderful to be welcomed into the Legacy ‘family’. My machine arrived in August 2014 and I quickly got it set up and running. The work to get it set up was minor. My next step was to get more training. Legacy offers aftermarket support over the phone, Tuesday/Thursday webinars and on line video training. These were a tremendous help and reduced my learning curve significantly. After attending these, I had a deeper understanding of my machine and the use of the Aspire software.
I had a local custom door shop contact me in Oct 2014 to make custom 3D carved door panels for their front door line. This opportunity turned out to be an unbelievable challenge. John at Legacy provided a lot of assistance to me and after several attempts we were able to complete the door panel project. The client mentioned when he picked up the door panels that he had contacted several other CNC companies throughout Colorado about cutting these door panels, and they all turned him down stating that it was too complicated. In addition to the door panels, I have created logos, signs and plaques for other clients.