My name is Bartee Lamar. I am currently 68 years old. I live in the north Atlanta GA metro area.
My woodworking began with my father. Dad was an Episcopal priest. Oddly he flunked Latin in highschool and ended up in woodshop. This started a life-long involvement in woodworking for him. The table pictured is the only piece of his work that I have. This was made with very basic equipment in his basement shop in Knoxville TN around 1964. His love of wood and the craft was a very significant influence on me.
I can remember the day when I was 13 years old when I called my Dad at work an asked “Can I use the table saw”. He said “yes”. So began my journey in to the world of wood.
I worked many hours for my dad in the 70’s making toys for his “Saluda Mountain Toys” business. He was a member of the Southern Highland Crafts Guild so once a year we would be at the Guild show demonstrating toys.
I always enjoyed the wood toys and gained experience on the table saw, band saw, and 12″ disk sander. We had NO dust collection back in those days. What a difference that makes.
I was without a wood shop until about 2003. I looked at my tools in the basement of my home and saw two saw-horses with a 4×8 sheet of plywood. That was my shop. It really sort of made me mad at myself, so the current shop was born.
Since 2003, my basement shop has been my place to get away from my technical career. I love tools, I love to think and I love wood. Very slowly since 2003 my shop has progressed. My initial promise to my wife was that I would build her a craft room in the other half of the basement. That has not happened yet.
The shop however progressed. My Shop History page on this site shows the progression over the years. I have thoroughly enjoyed building the shop. Much shop furniture and some very significant tools.
During the last 10 years of building my shop, I have completed many projects for the shop and a few actual pieces of work. For a while these projects were done with powered machine tools. Table Saw, band saw, routers, sanders etc.
In 2009, I attended a class to learn how to make a dovetail joint. The class was presented by Rob Cosman. This is one of the forks in the road in my woodworking journey. I used all hand tools. Real hand tools. I completed my dovetail joint. It is now my favicon for this site. This began a process of learning more and more about the world of hand tools. At some point, I learned how to actually get a plane iron sharp. I mean really sharp. When you finally get to this point and plane a piece of wood, you just know that is right and how it feels.
This journey into the dovetail class really started the year before, 2008, when I attended the first ever Woodworking In America conference by Popular Woodworking magazine. Up until this time I really did not know or understand what hand tool woodworking was all about, nor did I know who the real makers and craftsmen were in American.
The 2008 WIA conference was really special. No one had any idea of what it would be. Somewhere around 300 woodworkers crashed the Berea College campus for a Friday through Sunday conference. I met and listened to some of the finest woodworkers in America. I saw tools that were just amazing. I returned to WIA in 2010 and 2011. I had begun to integrate hand tools into my projects so the return trips to WIA were even better since I had some foundation to build my experiences.
As of now, January 2016, I have retired and look forward to many more hours in my shop. I combine my photography with website albums, commentaries and blogging to share my passion for woodworking. In 2015 I joined the YouTube generation and have switched to mostly Video blogging. Please take a look at my YouTube Channel, MySaw