John T. Hale
Working with wood has been a major part of my life. It began about 58 years ago when I was a young lad helping my Dad and my older brother who were carpenters. I started out by pulling and straightening nails, eventually progressing to the point where building and repairing houses and commercial buildings became my primary occupation. Lately I have narrowed my work load to the building and repairing of furniture in my shop at home; located in a very rural southeast Oklahoma area. My family and I literally sell our products right out of our house. I then replace the sold items with whatever my wife, Betty, wants along with whatever I can dream up. We also create special items for our customers from time to time. Our business is a family affair and we love it.
About two years ago Betty decided that she would like to have a poster bed with large spiral posts. Consequently, we sold our 40 year old Spanish style solid oak king size bed room suite in preparation for my building her one. Since I had previously built a wide assortment of woodworking projects, I was not overwhelmed with the idea of building our own bed to our own specifications; I knew I could build everything but the spiral bed posts. Since I was totally ignorant of how spirals were made and I considered myself “to old” to learn new techniques, we intended to contract this part of it out
Surprisingly we found only one man within about a hundred miles of us that could create spiral posts. He had an old Sears RouterCrafter that could only handle stock up to three feet long and three inches diameter. This was, of course, unacceptable to my wife.
In the process of trying to find someone to turn these posts, my daughter, Debbie, had gotten information about a company called Legacy Woodworking Machinery that sold a machine that would mill the type of posts that we wanted. I wasn’t really interested in investing in more equipment unless it benefited my small home based industry. Nevertheless, Debbie and Betty went ahead and ordered the information and the promotional video which when reviewed impressed everyone – even me.
My daughter and her husband, along with their four children, live next door to my wife and me. We discussed the possibility of the children learning to use it as one reason that might justify our getting one. I have always taught my family to become as familiar with my tools as they possibly could. I have always invited them to become involved in whatever I am doing whether it is scrolling with my scroll saws, building stained glass windows, building lamps, or whatever. In our decision making process, my son-in-law, Marvin Skipper, was also impressed and decided to order them a machine also.
Consequently, we ordered two units that had an 80" length capacity, adjustable bed, multiple gear drives, position indexing, and maximum stock diameter of 11". I also ordered the Rotary Indexing Table and lots of router bits. While other American families may get financially involved with new cars, boats, casinos, and other expensive toys, we have chosen the Legacy equipment instead, and are more proud of it every day.
After practicing on a piece of scrap wood, I moved comfortably into milling the posts for our poster style bed.
The mortising capability is great! I have now been challenged by my family to make pieces similar to those that you have pictured in your catalogue. Although we live in the corner of Oklahoma/Arkansas, a very low income area with few markets for luxuries, we are going to see what we can do. I am still anxious to gain more experience and enlarge my little shop industry assisted, of course, by the unimagined potential of the Legacy mill. I have a whole lot to learn, but am encouraged in my old age to see my grandchildren learning these skills that have been lost in this last century. Thanks for helping make this possible. My family, including our grandchildren, is delighted by what can be created on just one piece of equipment.
The Legacy equipment allows me to provide unique additions to my home, and as for my furniture building, it has enhanced the quality and design considerably. In looking at pictures or antique furniture, many pieces have spirals, and the furniture I build is mostly the Victorian or other antique designs. When I receive compliments on some of these pieces, I usually tell them that even my grandchildren can do that! John T. Hale