Chris Bagby

Chris Bagby, Owner & CEO A 1973 graduate of Georgia Tech, Chris co-founded Highland Woodworking in 1978 with Sharon Bagby. He originally provided custom millwork services before focusing mainly on marketing. His other interests include photography, tennis, snowboarding and thru-hiking backcountry trails, including the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail. He's also a registered yoga teacher, and his oldest yoga student is 93 years old!

Oct 052011
We received word today, Oct. 5, that renowned English woodworking author and teacher, David Charlesworth, was stricken with a serious illness while teaching in Germany and is in dire need of our assistance.


David is in need of an ambulance flight back to England but is not in position to cover the expense of one. We would like to encourage those in the woodworking community who are able to do so to make a donation of $1 to $10 to a fund for that purpose. Donations can be made via Paypal to David’s assistant John at (through Paypal). Highland Woodworking will also be contributing to the cause.


Chris Bagby, owner
Highland Woodworking


More details:
(courtesy of Frank Byers at Woodcraft)

Outreach for David Charlesworth

This blog is not about sales or in support of any marketing attempt for monetary profit. This is an attempt to give back with your help. We have a world renowned author, teacher, furnituremaker and woodworker, David Charlesworth, that has done much for the woodworking industry, who now requires our help. If I had to state on word that drives or represents woodworkers and their accomplishments, that word would be “inspiration.” David has been, and still is the epitome of inspiration for many through his woodworking talents. He now requires our inspiration and giving back to him.


David was teaching woodworking classes in Germany, when he was rushed to the hospital with respiratory problems, and other health complications that affect his ability to survive. We all know what it means when we cannot do our craft, as David is currently in condition, unable to continue doing what he does best. Without that ability, he acquires no income. His wife Pat, a retired school teacher with limited funds, is trying to handle it all.

That’s where we all come in as a family of woodworkers. I have found that woodworkers do more than just woodwork. Most, if not all woodworkers that I have encountered in my travels, have given back in some way to children, medical causes, the indigent, universities, home school woodworking programs, other woodworkers, communities; all with personal money, time and attention.


David needs our help right now, and time is of the essence. If you can donate a contribution, it will all add up to help David. Your heart-felt gift will not only help with his medical bills, but relieve part of the heavy burden a situation like this puts on a person and a family. When mental and physical well being need to come together to support the healing process, help from the outside can be instrumental in accomplishing a healthy recover.


Rob Cosman shared with us his support of David, stating, “While recovery is the most important, the reality is David, like most of us, needs to work. He derives a part of his income form his royalty on books and DVDs. If you have been considering a purchase, NOW would be a good time, and a great way to show your support.”


If you can help in any way, please send your contributions to:

The PayPal account for David, setup through David’s assistant John at: (through Paypal)

You can also order his DVD’s and books through David’s site:

You may also send your contributions by mail to:


David Charlesworth

Harton Manor




EX39 6BL


Please feel free to spread this word on David’s behalf, and please keep David in your prayers.

Thanks in advance from all of us.

Jun 282011


As we get ready to celebrate our freedom and independence here in America on the 4th of July, here’s a salute from Highland Woodworking to the brave men and women in our Armed Forces who are serving our country while deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

A recent letter from Army soldier Roscoe (Randy) Harris included a few photos of the woodworking shop that he and fellow soldiers have built on their base in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Soldiers Woodworking in Afghanistan

Soldiers Woodworking in Afghanistan


Dear Highland Woodworking,

It’s not beautiful, fancy, or by any means a work of art, but this little old woodshop means so much to a great bunch of soldiers who come here to take their minds off the fact that we’re in Afghanistan. This is our home away from home.

The shop is located on Kandahar Airfield in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. Downtime is what makes it so hard being here, and what better way to take your mind off being away from your family than doing something you really enjoy doing.

I am very grateful being a part of this wonderful place and helping set it up and keeping it up. We have spent countless hours here building extra shelves, bunk beds, and many other items to make life easier here for soldiers.

An Army soldier and woodworker,
Roscoe (Randy) Harris

Soldiers Woodworking in Afghanistan

READERS: You can log to the comments section below to pass along your 4th of July wishes and thanks to the guys at the Kandahar Airfield woodshop.

NOTE: We plan to feature a longer article about the Kandahar woodshop in an upcoming issue of Wood News

woodworking tools
Some work benches and hand tools
woodworking tools
Today’s project finished, after 6 hours
of feeling like I was back at home
woodworking tools
Kinda messy since today is Saturday
and the shop has been busy

woodworking tools
Screws, nails, and other miscellaneous stuff
Jun 282011

Winners of our Ask This Old House drawing

Congratulations to Chris Craft, whose name was picked in our drawing to visit the Ask This Old House video shoot last week. Chris and his wife Carol spent an hour watching This Old House contractor Tom Silva demonstrating installation of hinges on a custom door at house in Decatur, Georgia, not far from Highland Woodworking. Afterwards they got to join the TV crew for their catered lunch, and had a chance to leisurely chat with Tom and the other crew members.

Incidentally, there’s still time to enter our Stanley Sweetheart Sweepstakes to win a set of 11 Stanley Sweetheart tools.

CLICK HERE and enter as many times as you like.

Jun 182011

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva

Ask This Old House is coming to Atlanta to shoot segments for their upcoming Tenth Anniversary Season. As a proud sponsor of the series on Georgia Public Broadcasting, Highland Woodworking is excited to offer our loyal customers the chance to win a visit to a local shoot here in the Atlanta area.

On Wednesday, June 22, 2011 from around noon to 1:30 PM, the winner and a guest will have a chance to watch some of the taping, meet series general contractor Tom Silva, and have lunch with the crew!

Deadline to enter is noon on Monday, June 20. The winner will be notified by email on Monday afternoon. Maximum number of entries allowed is limited to 3 entries per email address.

Click to Enter

Watch Ask This Old House on GPB Saturdays at 11:00am and 5:00pm

Nov 112010

Local Man Carves into History with Declaration
By Kayleigh Karutis

Navy Veteran Carves the Declaration of Independence

For most people, any goal or pursuit taken up 10 years ago is probably a long-gone memory.

But for Charlie Kested of Johnstown, NY, there’s one thing that has been a constant in his life for the past 10 years. For the last decade, Kested has regularly sequestered himself away in his basement workshop, carefully carving, letter by letter, every single line of the Declaration of Independence out of dark walnut wood.

Times have changed. The popular music on the radio has evolved, as has fashion and television. Kested himself went through some changes, suffering a stroke that impaired his speech and his motor ability.

But throughout the years, the whirring of the blade of his scroll saw has remained constant, as has Kested’s unfailing patience for his work.

Navy Veteran Carves the Declaration of IndependenceThe massive piece, which is nearly as tall as Kested himself, was finally completed several months ago. It’s an exact wood model of the Declaration of Independence, right down to the flourish of John Hancock’s signature at the bottom. The dark walnut words are a stark contrast against the Baltic birch background.

It was a labor of love that Kested said he knew he would eventually complete. The time spent on the piece paid off, when he was awarded first place and best in show at the 2010 Florida State Fair.

The 81-year-old retired industrial arts teacher began experimenting in wood working when he was a child growing up in Fonda. Both his father and grandfather were accomplished woodworkers, he said.

“My grandfather had a lathe at home. I was maybe 10 when he got a box, stood me on it and put a tool in my hand. I did my first turn,” he said.

From then on, Kested showed an interest and skill in woodworking. He went into the Navy in the 1950s, where he attended wood pattern making school. He worked for years making models out of wood that would then be used to make cast-iron products for the Navy before returning home and becoming a teacher in the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District.

He’s made model medical prosthetics for replacement chins, noses and other body parts. He’s replaced the dashboard of an old Rolls Royce, and has worked making quality-control models for a variety of applications. He was looking for a special challenge, though, and found it in the Declaration.

Navy Veteran Carves the Declaration of IndependenceHe started the Declaration of Independence in 2000 and worked on it, little by little, over the years until it was near completion. A stroke, though, less than a year ago put the project, and his life, in peril.

Luckily, Kested emerged from his ordeal far better than some others do. He can no longer feel any sensation in one hand, but is able to still use it and still has a strong grip. His speech is slower and he sometimes struggles to find words, but ultimately he’s made a good recovery, he said. After some therapy he was able to resume work on his project, carving the final bits of punctuation and adhering them to the birch background.

He said he hopes his experience inspires others who deal with a similar issue.

“I feel really blessed. I want people to know that you can still do things, that they shouldn’t give up, they should keep on going,” he said.

Kested did keep on going, straight to the Florida State Fair earlier this year, where his piece attracted a lot of attention. Kested and his wife, Beverly, live in Florida during the winter months.

Peter Richardson, editor for the St. Petersburg Wood Crafters Guild in Florida, said the fellow woodworkers who saw Kested’s piece at the state fair were amazed by it.

“They understand the amount of patience and attention to detail it requires,” he said. “[Kested] is absolutely meticulous in his other pieces. [The Declaration of Independence piece] is so precise you can’t believe they were made my hand.”

Richardson called the piece “museum quality.” He said Kested’s stroke makes his accomplishment even more astonishing.

“It’s amazing when you understand that his right side was paralyzed,” he said. “He pushed and finished it and that alone deserved best of show.”

Aside from his prize-winning Declaration, Kested is an accomplished woodworker whose made everything from grandfather clocks to ornate, minutely-detailed decorations to jewelry armoires. His home in Johnstown is full of his work, from the entire kitchen to the “love spoon” adorned with roses he carved for his wife.

Beverly Kested said she is constantly in awe of her husband’s skill. She smiled as she warmly recalled when the pair first met while he was visiting the area to attend a wedding during his time in the Navy more than 50 years ago, and was eager to praise her partners accomplishments.

“He’s won so many awards, it’s unbelievable,” she said. “I think [the Declaration] is the best I’ve ever seen. I think he’s pretty special.”

Charlie Kested said the Declaration itself is a piece of history that is near to his heart. The document, written mostly by Thomas Jefferson and signed on July 4, 1776, declared the 13 American colonies at war with Great Britain, were no longer ruled by Great Britain and were independent states. It contains one of the most well-recognized lines in American history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Kested’s said Charlie’s work on the Declaration led them to learn more about the history of the document, which both called fascinating.

Now that it’s finished, it will remain in the Kested family as a treasured heirloom, the pair said. Kested said he isn’t taking a break from his woodworking now that his long-time project is finished. Next up, the Gettysburg Address. That piece, the pair said, will hopefully be ready for next year’s state fair.

This article first appeared on July 4, 2010 in The Leader-Herald, a newspaper in Gloversville, New York.

After getting an extraordinary amount of feedback on this article, we followed up with Mr. Kested by phone. You can see our latest report on Charlie Kested and his plans for the Gettysburg address here.

Readers: CLICK HERE if you are interested in scroll sawing

Sep 092010
Hofmann and Hammer workbenches at Highland Woodworking

Phil Colson forklifts a pallet of new workbenches off the 40-foot container truck

It’s always exciting around here when we receive a full 40-foot ocean container load of something we’ve ordered from abroad. Today we unloaded 70 Hofmann & Hammer workbenches from a container shipped direct from the factory in Gruenfeld-Zimmern, Germany. We believe they are truly the finest value in a premium quality workbench available anywhere. They’re now on sale on our website. Save $200 on the Large and Medium benches, and $100 on the compact bench.

Hofmann and Hammer workbenches