My World-Class Mentor

13 Feb
Bill Keyser

Bill Keyser

I’m pretty involved in my church; in addition to going to Mass every week, I’m also the website guy,and a player in the church’s play group. I’ve made a lot of good friends, from many disciplines of work. One of those people is Bill Keyser, who I like to consider my mentor. He’s a world class woodworker; he studied directly under the famous danish woodworking professor, Tage Frid, a major player in the studio furniture movement, at RIT’s School for American Craftsman. Bill has also had his story recorded at the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. He’s also been in Fine Woodworking magazine. He is known in the Rochester, NY area for his liturgical work, and his abstract art work – both in wood and painting.

In other words, a hell of a resume!

I was over at his studio in Victor, NY last night. I asked him to show me how to properly do a 4 sided taper on a short column for a candlestick. I tried several times to do it on my own, and couldn’t make it happen, despite researching it on the ‘net. It’s not as easy as you might think! Bill of course, made it happen quickly, using two jigs. It was quite the shop he has too – mostly older power tools, like a Delta Bandsaw that seriously had like a 14″ cutting depth, and probably 12″ resaw capability; a Delta cabinet saw which had a router table extension on it, and then a shaper added on to that as well. Plenty of clamps and carving tools adorned the walls. Lots of projects simultaneously happening.

I was then graciously invited into his home by his wife Joan, a very nice lady, who specializes in – for lack of a better term – food staging. She’s the lady that makes food look so good in ads so cameramen can photograph it. She told me a few of the tricks of her trade – like making something like a hamburger look juicy – it’s coated with vegetable oil. Their home is a contemporary style, and adorned with Bill’s sculptural work, and practical work as well. We had a few refreshments, and great conversation, then I made sure not to make a pest out of myself, and left in due time. Very nice people to chat with.

I hope I can learn some more from Bill in the future; I don’t want to be a pest of course, but perhaps I can pop in from time to time, and have him show me some other interesting techniques from the hands of a master.

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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in BlogNotes


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