Molly Bagby

Mar 272013

paulsellersWe always enjoy coming across blog articles or reviews about Highland Woodworking, especially those where woodworkers young and old discuss their history with our 35 year old family business. We recently came across Paul Sellers’ website and blog, where he describes his days of receiving our woodworking catalog and dog-earring the pages, as well as his recent visit to our retail store in Atlanta. CLICK HERE TO READ HIS BLOG.

Paul Sellers Highland Woodworking Picture

Mr. Sellers has been woodworking for over 45 years and is the Founder of the New Legacy School of Woodworking, which has two locations in both Penrhyn Castle, UK and Schuylerville, New York. To learn more about his woodworking school, The New Legacy School of Woodworking, visit their website.

Mar 222013

I recently came across a wooden structure outside a house in my neighborhood, similar-looking to a birdhouse, but with a large window in the front “door.”  Inside were several used-books with a wide range of subject matter and atop the structure I saw a sign noting that this was The Little Free Library, Take a Book, Return a Book. The sign also included the web-link to, and a unique number. Although I wasn’t interested in taking a book at the time I was very intrigued by the concept and decided to do a little research when I got home. Upon further research on the website I found out that this one structure in my neighborhood was part of an entire nationwide community movement.

Little Free Library Easthampton

The Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2009 by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks and based in Wisconsin. Since then these libraries have popped up in front yards and public places all across the United States and even in locations throughout the world. Anybody can create their own library either with the company’s pre-manufactured structures for sale on their website, or by using your own creativity and woodworking skills with their plans and tips for builders. After creating your library you can register it through the Little Free Library website for $35 where you will then receive your charter number and have your library represented on the official map.

The library structures can range from simple to extravagant. Most libraries are similar in size with average dimensions of 19″ x 23″ x 16″.  The basic model offered for sale is made of weather-resistant plywood and featues a relatively standard design that can be a great decorating project for the kids. From there, you can get really fancy and build up the design to a log cabin, barn, or even a British phone booth! The designs can also be made up of multiple shelves to allow for even more book storage and sharing.

If you choose to build your own library, it makes for a fast and easy woodworking project. The organization encourages builders to use recycled and found materials to make your library unique as well as environmentally friendly. You can incorporate almost any sort of material into your library so long as it is safe to the touch and weather resistant. Some people have constructed their libraries in honor of a loved one, and have incorporated something of theirs into the materials in order to make a lasting legacy. And once you get to the actual painting and decoration of your library, the sky is the limit! Some corporate organizations will incorporate their logo onto the library (especially if they have sponsored the structure), or even made replicas of their actual businesses. Whatever you use to build and design your library make it unique and inviting in order to encourage your community to use it.

As for the books that you supply within your library, you can either supply them yourself with what you think people might be interested in reading from your own collection, or you can seek out donations from your local bookstore. Just be sure to have enough books in there at a time to keep people coming back and sharing their own.

Be sure to check back in a few weeks, as Highland Woodworking’s owner Chris Bagby and his wife Sanne are currently building a Little Free Library in their front yard in Atlanta using recycled materials. We plan to share some photos of their project on this blog as work progresses. If you happen to get interested and decide to build you own Little Free Library, be sure to send us a photo so we can include it in a future blog post.

Click HERE to see Sanne’s first entry about the beginning process of building a Little Free Library and her finding of the wood materials to make her project complete.

Mar 132013
Gail O'Rourke

Gail O’Rourke

While we are all familiar with the many popular woodworking shows that have had long runs on public television (The Woodright’s Shop with Roy Underhill, New Yankee Workshop with Norm Abram, and This Old House, among others), there are a few that have gone less recognized. One of these was Woodworking Together, hosted by Gail O’Rourke back in 2007.

While this show is no longer in production (like many cable/public television woodworking shows), it still got me interested in Gail’s story as a Woodworker.

Currently, Gail works in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts as a Cabinetmaker and Designer, specializing in Kitchens, and her story of finding her profession is a pretty interesting one.

She had just moved into a new home with her husband and three kids. They began renovations on the house and by the time they were done they didn’t have any money to spend on actual furniture, so she turned to woodworking and crafted her own (with the help of her brothers in the beginning). I have noticed that this seems to be the way a lot of people find their interest in woodworking, and what better way to learn than building all of your own furniture?

After discovering her talents as a woodworker she went to work for Timberwolf Woodworking in order to hone her woodworking skills. After a year and a half she decided it was time to open her own cabinetmaking business, Hometown Woodworking, where she solely ran all aspects of consulting, construction, and even cleaning up the space.

Due to the rough economy, she realized she needed to work with bigger firms and had several positions before settling with Cape Kitchens, doing kitchen design and project management.  She still maintains her Hometown Woodworking site ( if anybody in the Eastern Massachusetts area is interested in checking out her designs and maybe even contracting her for your next kitchen!

Mar 082013

sarahrowewoodcarvingIf you’re going to be in the Atlanta area this weekend, you might be interested in checking out master carver, Sarah Rowe’s free presentation on Techniques for Creating Ornamental Woodcarvings this Saturday, March 9th from 2-3pm at Rhodes Hall at 1516 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30309.

Ms. Rowe is originally from Columbus, GA and began her carving career as an apprentice in college at the University of New Orleans, under the guidance of a Master Italian carver. After graduating she returned to Columbus and opened her own carving studio and has worked with several renowned organizations including the Columbus Museum and the Geisler-Morder School of Woodworking in Austria.

Ms. Rowe has also been feature in our monthly Wood News. You can read the article about her carving in our July 2011 Show Us Your Wood Carving column by CLICKING HERE.

To reserve your space in the presentation, CLICK HERE to go to the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture Homepage and sign-up today.


And while you’re in town, make sure to come by and visit Highland Woodworking just a short drive away.