You cannot get any closer to Woodcraft’s Woodworking Adventures theme, representative of its logo and all it stands for, than Joel Green’s adventures in becoming a woodworker.
As a young boy watching the first Indiana Jones movie, Joel knew he wanted to be an archaeologist. He pursued this vision spending a year in Athens, Greece as an archaeology student and artifact illustrator. He was able to travel to many historic sites in Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Jordan. The time he spent immersed in ancient cultures provided a deep appreciation for hand created objects and a unique perspective about the lasting significance that future artisan creations may hold.
With a BA in Art History and Anthropology from Eastern Washington University, Joel pursued a career as an archaeologist and artifact illustrator. Below are photos of Joel (Indiana Jones) Green in his archaeology days and at the Giza Plateau.
Working at archaeological sites in the U.S. Midwest and West, he was able to uncover Native American artifacts from many tribes as well as objects early settlers had left behind. Holding the artifacts, he would think about the person who had created it, how it had been used, what it meant to those who had owned it, and what it could mean as an inspirational find for others to behold.
Joel always had a creative drive. He worked extensively as an illustrator, taught himself how to hand carve wooden signs, and also worked in what Joel states as “clay skeletonizing or seeing through the pots by removing most of the clay to leave an astonishingly intricate design behind.”
Joel first began his woodworking quest for knowledge by taking a bowl turning class offered at the Spokane Woodcraft store back in 2009 with his wife Christine. In 2011, he followed up with a pen turning class. Joel realized he wanted more out of this than just a hobby. Today he is on the turning edge of a new business, offering his very different, but very talented artistic turnings to the public.
When first starting out, Joel experienced shop space limitations, but he focused his positive energy on the woodworking and immediately recognized the vast creative possibilities. Even when creating functional items such as wine stoppers, pepper mills or executive pens, there were endless ways to elevate items to an artistic level since each is diligently and meticulously created by hand.
Joel constantly strives to utilize unique materials, mostly from his Spokane Washington Woodcraft store and combine them in surprising ways. He recently developed a multi-day process to create high end leather pens in addition to exotic and domestic wood pens, acrylic pens, pepper mills and wine stoppers. You can view and purchase all of Joel’s products on his quite unique Joel Green Studios Website. Additional information can also be found on the Joel Green Studio Facebook Page.
Joel has also released a line of signature executive high end pens called the V.O. series. These classy pens utilize a mixture of leather, exotic woods and Tru-Stone to create a stylized “V” and “O” shape in the pen body. Each creation is handcrafted and hand shaped to ensure a truly unique collector’s item.
Making a Leather Pen Blank
Cut out 1″ x 1″ squares with a sharp knife that will cut the leather cleanly. Joel used an E-Z Detailing Knife to do the trick, but a marking knife also works well. Once you have a nice pile of leather squares, begin by gluing them together (smooth end against rough end) with a strong glue. Joel chose 5 Minute Epoxy, but depending on the temperature in the room you may have a shorter glue time. Make a mold to uniformly hold the glued leather squares together. Line the inside of the mold with wax paper or parchment paper so that the glue does not stick to the sides of the mold once the leather is tightly compressed. You don’t want to show clear glue gaps between the leather when you turn or you will present a window showing the brass.
Once the blank is made you need to harden it with several applications of CA glue, otherwise you will get material fray out. If you are experimenting with designs, then you may experience the tool chopping out of the design, leaving a hole in the blank. Compress the blank in a vice as CA glue is applied for stability. This takes out the spongy play in the leather layers and makes turning a lot easier giving you a blank that feels more like wood than leather.
Once dry, treat the blank like any other wood or acrylic blank. Measure, cut, drill and place on the mandrel. From here on out, use whatever speed feels right. Depending on the leather used, it will act inconsistently at different speeds. Always use sharp tools. Joel recommends Easy Wood Tools because as the leather dulls the blade over time, merely loosen the retaining screw on the new Easy Start Finisher as well as all other Easy Wood Finisher Products, and rotate the cutter about 1/4 of a turn, then re-tighten the screw and continue turning or replace the cutter in the same manner if the entire cutter has been dulled over time and use.
Once you have achieved the shape you desire in your pen blank, choose from a multitude of finishing products to get the desired sheen. Joel likes CA glue but has also used products like General Finishes Enduro-Var that work equally well. Buff your customized pen if desired, then assemble.
When Joel is not developing and turning works of art for his business, he is giving back through Woodcraft’s Turning for Troops initiatives at his local Spokane WA Woodcraft store and The Patriot Woodworker Veterans resource opportunities areas.
The leather Ultra Cigar Gold with Chrome Accents Pen below was sold to benefit the Home for Our Troops organization. Joel won the People’s Choice Award for this pen creation during The Patriot Woodworker Home for Our Troops Contest sponsored by Easy Wood Tools, Woodcraft and The Patriot Woodworker. Thank you Joel for taking the time to help.
While Joel is working with smaller objects at this time, he plans to evolve his artistic endeavors to include larger and more complex pieces such as bowls and goblets with actual ancient replica markings. This will allow Joel to combine his long term artistic vision with his archaeology knowledge to capture and resurrect ancient designs from 5000-6000 years ago and reintroduce this art to the world.
Visit Joel’s shop with a behind the scenes interview as Joel discusses his woodworking journey.
One good thing Joel, there are no snakes in Woodworking Adventures!
We look forward to your ongoing saga.
In the Spirit of Excellence, auf Wiedersehen…Frank!
01/07/14 Update -
Joel Green is formally a Woodcraft employee at his Spokane Washington Store!
Congratulations, welcome aboard, and best wishes Joel!