First Light Woodworking with Rick Lasita
Often times, I jump from blog to blog to blog and ride a blogroll wave, partially out of curiosity, but most times because I love seeing what kind of custom work comes out of woodshops all over the country. Recently, on my blog hopping journey, I came across First Light Woodworking and reached out to its owner/author Rick Lasita. Rick was gracious enough to add a CustomMade link onto his blog roll so that we might be a site that someone checks out on their own blog roll journey! I was anxious to know more about Rick and what he was up to, so he allowed me to conduct somewhat of an interview to learn a bit more about him and his work.
I would tell you a bit about what Rick’s shop and blog are up to, but I’d just as soon let him! Take it away rick!
“I have a few commision pieces ranging from toy chests to jewelery boxes and I am in the process of making a chess board with drawers in the base. I have built a replica of the old oak ice boxes, I have made pie chests with the punched tin panels, quilt racks, the clock you see on my blog was one of my favorites, as well as the cherry settee. Most of what I build stays in my house or for my 2 son’s or daughter. My shop is an extension of a hobby I started 20 years or so ago when I was living and working in California. Hometown is Cincinnati so when we moved back, I went from a garage shop to a basement shop which was great. When I moved to Tennessee for work in 03, I found myself back in the garage and once the weather got hot in West Tennessee, it wasn’t long before all woodworking stopped. A couple of years ago, I built the shop. It is 16 x 20, insulated, heated and air conditioned. I recently retired (7/1/10) so this is where you will find me, or on the golf course. The blog started about a year ago as a way to put my work in aplace my co-workers could easily see what I was doing. I enjoy posting, but sometimes that is a chore in and of itself.”
I asked Rick how he got his start. His journey into woodworking, and shop/blog were started two different ways:
Woodworking: “My wife had been carrying around a plan for a sewing table and cutting board. She ask me to build it, I only had a circular saw and a jig saw, and I kept finding reasons not to. It was when she threatened to take down the street to my neighbors garage shop is when I said okay. It turned out pretty good, and I was on a slippery slope at that point. That was 1988.”
Blog: “I didn’t really have a start point for First Light Woodworking, it just evolved.”
“I have a few commision pieces ranging from toy chests to jewelery boxes and I am in the process of making a chess board with drawers in the base. I have built a replica of the old oak ice boxes, I have made pie chests with the punched tin panels, quilt racks, the clock you see on my blog was one of my favorites, as well as the cherry settee. Most of what I build stays in my house or for my 2 son’s or daughter. I would really like to say as a speciality I want to start focusing on the Windsor chairs, I am just not sure of the market here in West Tennessee. I am not a “production” worker, that is I tend to build more of “one off” variety, but I have duplicated some pieces. With the exception of the chair class, I am self taught through magazines, interent, and trial and error. My favorite tools are my hand tools. Saws, hand planes, spoke shaves, etc. This is all musle power and no electrons are used as they saw, but I find a mix of hand a power to be important. There are all power guys and gals out there as well as all hand tool guys and gals, but I find the mix to be best.”
Not only is Rick as passionate about handmade and custom as we are, he also does his part to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible. Rick runs a green shop and uses all of his woodchips and dust collector materials in his flower beds and gardens, uses no wood that has been pressure treated, and uses only water based finishes on every piece he creates. Finally, Rick specifically wanted to get this message out to our readers: “…I hope the people that visit your site or my blog understand that a piece of hand made furniture, or glass, or fabric, or any other medium you highlight, is indeed a work of art. We live in a throw away society, its too easy to go to Wally World and buy another piece when it breaks. I take pride in my craftsmanship and quality, and like most creative’s. I am my own worst critic.”