Jim Draper ---- Furniture Maker
3004 Pleasant Valley Road
Rice, Washington 99167


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November 25, 2021

My wife Rori and I live near Rice, Eastern Washington State on our 300 acre ranch with a few dogs and goats. We lived on a small farm near Palmer, Alaska for about 25 years, before relocating to here. We also have a guesthouse as part of our place that we let as a short-term vacation rental and really enjoy meeting and sharing experiences with our guests. Working (seasonally) in our orchards and gardens and voluntering as an EMT/Firefighter for the local fire department round out our activities here.

After building and riding motorcycles as a young man in Southern California, I decided to take up sailboats as an alternative to motorized hobbies. My start with woodworking then came with the restoration of an old wooden sailboat  (built 1939) I had purchased in Newport Beach, CA. I quickly discovered that owning a wood sailboat was only about 10% sailing and 90% working on the boat. As I went through that process, I was exposed to the magic of shaping wood into boat parts, constructing solid wood cabinetry, learning the appropriate joinery, and applying the various finishes. I was also inspired by some talented woodworkers that I met while hanging out on the docks.

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Today, my small shop is one of my favorite places to occupy my time... constructing mostly small cabinets, various tables and chairs, bookcases, desks and other pieces. My passion for woodworking has increased steadily as my skills (especially working with hand tools) have improved. In this age of people buying mostly factory-fabricated, staple-together, wobbly, rickety furniture, it is important to seek out and encourage anyone who builds (or is considering learning how to build) custom wood furniture.

As I have tackled more and more complex projects, what has become most important is not technique, but design. Although I don't necessarily like spending hours just doing the researching, the drafting on SketchUp, and the building of mock-ups, it can't be argued that time spent this way will not increase the chances of the project's success. Becoming more skilled and comfortable with hand tools "at the bench" also increases the satisfaction and confidence to take on something different. Mistakes in technique and construction can usually be repaired while underway, but poor design lasts forever.

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