Interview with John Furniss (GWTW119)

John Furniss is a fine woodworker and happens to be completely blind since the age of 16. In September 2016, I released a short documentary about John and his work and in this episode of Getting Work To Work, we catch up with what he’s been up to the past year, new challenges as he gains increased exposure for his work, and what his hopes and plans are for 2018.

Several quotes from this episode:

  • “I’m listening very closely because the way the tool sounds as it cuts into the wood is very important. I can tell everything—whether it’s cutting right, or well, or anything, if the tool is dull just by the way it sounds and feels in my hand.”
  • “I’ll get so focused that three hours will go by and I won’t even know it. The only thing that tells me that much time went by is my forearms burning like fire…”
  • “One of the main difference between sighted and blind woodworkers is the way that we measure.”
  • “On the lathe, the sky’s the limit. You start with a square block of wood and just whatever you want to make. You just go for it.”
  • “I just kinda like to explore and if I can think of a way to do it, I try it.”
  • “When it gets to the point where it feels like I’m just forcing it out, I have to step back from it for a day or two and take a sanity break.”
  • “I don’t want to be pitied, I don’t want people to like my stuff just because I’m a blind woodworker. I want it to be liked because it’s quality work.”

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