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Legacy Woodworking  Machinery
a division of Phantom Engineering, Inc.
Featuring the Legacy Ornamental Mill!


Gallery Project

Columns
Victorian Style


Name:  Don Butler

Address:   Waterford PA 
Email:   dhbutler@velocity.net
Type:   Hobbyist

"I'm not a professional woodworker and I turn away jobs because I can't dedicate the time it would take to do them. Our old house demands all the spare time I can find, and I enjoy having the tools to do more than just keep patching it up. The Legacy Mill allows me to do work I never considered before."


Profile

Editor's Note: Don Butler, who is now (2003) in his 70s, has chosen the field of woodworking as a means to satisfy his long borne desire to become a practicing artist. As can be seen from the photos of his front porch - just  the beginning of his revitalization program - that have been posted in his portfolio on our website, Don has successfully married his artistic instincts with his new found woodworking skills.

Don's Legacy Story

I think that my attraction to wood comes from its innate properties. It is fairly easy to work with, even with hand tools. Wood is also durable, beautiful and versatile. It can be used to build almost anything. Over the years it has been used not only to provide heat but to also create artifacts, furniture, storage containers and structures all of which can be, and have been, artistically enhanced by the talents of the novice and the professional alike."

My wife and I first saw the Legacy Ornamental Mill at a woodworking show in Hamburg, NY. After the demo we were walking around and Marge said, "You need that machine". I was a little surprised because of the prices! On the way home to Waterford, however, she continued to urge me to purchase one. Shortly after arriving at home I called and ordered a Legacy 1500EX with all its "goodies". That was a pivotal point in my woodworking practice.

I was still working in industry as a "techie geek", and didn't get much time to be creative with it. I turned out a number of canes and walking sticks though, and got to know how things worked. I finally retired and thought I'd get to do a lot more in the woodworking shop. Hah! Just about that time, Marge's Knit Shop began to be very busy. Busier than we ever dreamed, actually, and I was up to my ears with the work of making our little Mom and Pop home based business into a much more organized enterprise.

In the process it came to our attention that we should do something to dress up the outside entrance to our home business - it was neat, but not very attractive. Since we both admired Victorian style architecture, we thought it would be nice to "Victorianize" this part of our very old house. For a while, I wondered why there seemed to be no evidence of such decoration on the house, even though it has "the bones" for it. Gradually, as we tried to document its age, it became apparent that the house predated the Victorian era by about 60 years or so! Since a county courthouse fire in the middle 1800s destroyed all documents for the property we have no proof, but a local historian places our house in the early 1800s, probably about 1804. We decided that using Victorian embellishments, therefore, would actually update as well as enhance its beauty.

I'm not a professional woodworker and I turn away jobs because I can't dedicate the time it would take to do them. Our old house demands all the spare time I can find, and I enjoy having the tools to do more than just keep patching it up. The Legacy Mill allows me to do work I never considered before. So I've adopted a better way of approaching projects.

First I do rough sketches with pencil and paper. When the ideas start to take shape I use the digital camera to establish the real proportions and have a template over which I can draw. Then I go to the computer and fire up my CorelDraw suite to do full color renditions, and Marge and I look at them together to see how we want the project to develop. Then the computer gets into the process again, this time with a CAD program to work out actual dimensions and joinery. Only a very few projects will go from my ideas directly to the shop. I find it is better to work everything out beforehand. "Plan your work and work your plan" hasn't always been the way I do things, but it does produce fewer failures.

So, I keep trying to steal time from the business for woodworking. It seems to be mostly in the summertime when knitters slow down and give us a break from selling great piles of yarn.
Would I encourage others to get a Legacy? Mmmmm. I don't know. Having it makes my work somewhat unique in my little corner of the world. Should I share the joy? . . . . . . I'm THINKING!  Ask me later, I can't decide. 

 
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