In honor of WOOD Magazine’s 25th Anniversary, we’re posting 25 Interesting Facts about each of the folks who put out your favorite woodworking magazine. Here’s my list:
1. I graduated in a senior class of 14 people. And that was in a school district made up of two towns. My first class my freshman year in college had more students in it than my entire junior high/high school building.
2. Everyone called me Luke until I was 18, then I was Lucas. At college, they had our names written on construction paper and taped to our dorm room doors. The name on my birth certificate is Lucas, so the name on my dorm room door was Lucas. From then on, everyone called me Lucas. I would never underestimate the power of construction paper again.
3. I don’t mind finishing as much as most woodworkers. I feel it gives me quiet time to think. And I seem to think my deepest thoughts while finishing. For example: I just realized that I probably need better ventilation.
4. My front tooth is fake. It’s mostly a crown. In 6th grade, a few of us had the brilliant idea to play basketball on an ice-covered court on the playground. I got my first root canal shortly thereafter. I still have most of my wisdom teeth, though. I don’t think the two are connected.
5. I was a farmhand on 4 different farms in high school (not at the same time).
6. My father was a general contractor who built and remodeled houses. A kid that worked for him during the summers was inspired to go into the same business. The summer of my junior year when I was looking for a job, that kid (now grown up) hired me and I worked my way through college with him.
7. Woodworking/construction mishaps so far (nothing serious, thankfully): Framing nail from nailer through finger (watch those double-bounces). Chisel cut on back of left hand (classic chisel-slip-into-misplaced-hand incident). Knuckle scar from spinning tablesaw blade (started arranging my materials on the tablesaw top before the blade spun down). Hit with a sledgehammer on 2 separate occasions: once on the shin, once on the chin (don’t ask).
8. I once accidentally mooned the entire school— elementary through high school and all the teachers—from the basketball court at a pep rally. Not a full moon. Just whitey-tighties. What’s that called? That’s not a moon, is it? That night, I was crowned the basketball homecoming king. I’d like to claim the two were related, but the voting had already taken place before the pep rally.
9. My wife and I met at college. We were friends for many years before we dated. It turned out, she had gone to high school in a town a few miles away from my high school. We found out later that my sisters played against her in basketball.
10. I’ve bungee jumped.
11. I lived in Oklahoma (Go Sooners!) for 31 years before moving to Iowa to work for WOOD Magazine.
12. I experienced -20°F weather for the first time in my life my second winter in Iowa. I could feel my nose hairs freezing. Everyone tells me that this is unusual weather in Iowa. They said that same thing after the 55 inches of snow the previous winter, the tornadoes all spring, and the floods over the summer. I now believe that Iowa is the convergence point for everybody else’s bad weather. My sister tells me my nose hairs need trimmed.
13. I love to go to auctions and garage sales to find woodworking tools, wood, and hardware. An eBay find took me to Tyler, TX for a trailer load of Honduran Mahogany. My best score recently was a couple boxes of heavy-duty, full-extension drawer slides for $1/pair found through Craig’s List.
14. As a kid, I went to science camp and liked it. Man, I’m such a nerd. I read comic books all the time as a kid, and I still read and watch science-fiction. Between driving loads of wheat to the grain elevator, I’d be reading a sci-fi novel. The farmers all thought I was strange because I had paperbacks tucked away in the tractor cabs. In college, I took the novel-writing course and wrote about 3/4 of a sci-fi novel. No, you can’t read it.
16. I have strange, irrational anxiety over talking on the phone. Most of the time, I overcome it, but it’s one of the worst things about being in journalism. Oddly, I don’t seem to have the same problem when talking to people in person. When I asked my wife Christie on our first date, I called her to say I was dropping by, then asked her in person. It was easier.
17. I don’t listen to music out in the shop. Don’t know why. Last 10 artists I downloaded on iTunes: Amos Lee, Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Ollabelle, Bob Dylan, Mary Gauthier, Lizz Wright, Ruthie Foster. I think my taste in music improved when I finally accepted that I don’t have very sophisticated taste in music. My enjoyment of music certainly did. It let me give myself permission to listen to stuff I like rather than stuff I thought I should like.
18. Here was our plan before we had our son Parker: A) Practice fish, B) Practice cat, C) Practice dog. (A) went sort of psychotic and died, we skipped (B), and (C) is still alive. That counts as a draw, so we went for it.
19. I was really glad we had a boy. There are so many toys that I want to start playing with again. I can’t wait until we get to the ages 3 and up. He is so getting a Lego Mindstorms kit someday.
20. When I was a kid, the first power tool my dad let me use was the bandsaw. He would suggest shapes for me to cut out. I can’t wait to get Parker out in the shop with me. He already helps me pick out wood at the lumberyard and push the cart at the home center. He loves to talk about hauling it home in “daddy’s pickup.”
21. Once, in grade school, we were assigned countries about which we had to write a report and make a display. I decided to cut out the shape of my country on the bandsaw. I was assigned Israel. Easier than Canada, I suppose. Or the fjords of Norway. Or Micronesia.
22. I keep my shop confined to one stall of a two-stall garage. If I keep saying that over and over, perhaps my wife won’t notice that she has yet to be able to park her car in our current garage. My projects keep spilling over to the “her” side.
23. In college, I once had dates with two different sorority girls scheduled on the same night. Both of them asked me out. But I have to leave it at that, because the beginning of that story sounds much more impressive than the ending.
24. I wanted to be a writer all growing up. So naturally I started college as an engineering major. Writing isn’t practical. It took me one semester to switch over to the journalism school. Now I is a writer.
25. I worked for a math textbook company for 5 years after college, then helped start a mathematics multimedia company.