View Full Version : creeker interview: Jason Tuinstra

Zahid Naqvi
11-08-2006, 9:16 AM
1. Name (and nick names):
Wm. Jason Tuinstra

2. Age/DOB:

3. Location (present and previous):
Hanford, California (for the last 1 years) via St. John, Indiana (10 years) via Jenison, Michigan (hometown growing up)

4. Tell us about your family:
I have been married for 14 years and have 5 children.

5. How do you earn a living, woodworking or other, any interesting previous occupations.
I am a pastor in the United Reformed Churches of North America. I sell some of my furniture, but most of it is given away or kept for the homestead.

6. Equipment overview (hand tools and other):
At the center of the shop is my Delta Unisaw. Other than this, most of my tools are hobbyist level. I have an open stand JET 6 jointer and a JET 12 bandsaw. I have the old DeWalt 12 planer. They are not the best, but Im comfortable with them and their limitations and would rather spend money on wood right now. To help out with flattening tabletops I have a 16/32 Performax drum sander. Within the last year I started to buying FESTOOL equipment and cant say enough about their quality. Regarding hand tools, I have an assortment of chisels nothing noteworthy. I have a small assortment of Veritas hand planes and a Lie Nielsen dovetail saw. Beyond this, I have the standard assortment of routers, sanders, bits and pieces that go into making quality furniture.

7. Describe your shop:
I have a two stall garage shop. Most of the tools are on wheels so that I can push everything out of the way when Im done with a project to allow for some parking.

8. Tell us about the hand planes you own, and your favorite one(s) to use:
My favorite plane has been my low-angle jack plane. It leaves a beautiful finish and is a joy to use.

9. Your favorite chisels:
Which everyone is sharp and good enough for the job at hand. I use my 1/8 chisel the most with the hand cut dovetails Im trying to master along with the 1/8 pegs that I like to use on my furniture.

10. Your favorite handsaw(s):
I have but one, so the process of elimination isnt that hard L.N. dovetail saw. Very comfortable fit in the hand and a beauty to behold.

11. Do you use western tools or Japanese, why do you prefer the ones you use:
Ive not been exposed to Japanese tools and thus, have no opinion on the matter.

12. Do you have a woodworking home page:
I post pictures of my furniture to a picture hosting website. Nothing professional. http://photos.yahoo.com/ph/curc@sbcglobal.net/my_photos

13. Do you have any influences in your work? Certain styles or designers you follow/prefer:
I prefer the simplicity of the Shaker style and have built most of my furniture in this style. Thos. Moser, Christian Becksvoort, Ian Ingersoll, and Kerry Pierce are a few that have inspired me along the way.

14. Do you have any ancestors who were woodworkers that served as inspiration?
My grandfather was the head upholster for Hendredon Furniture when they were in Grand Rapids and has worked privately for such clients as President Ford. I attribute my love for fine furniture to his influence on our family. It was my grandfather who gave me the money for my first table saw when I was a struggling student.

15. What is your favorite neander project, or part of a project, you have ever done and why:
I would call myself and aspiring neander. Most of my tools still have tails. But I have been trying more and more to be liberated from them where it makes a difference in the quality and look of the piece.

16. Do you believe there is any spiritual dimension to woodworking with hand tools:
No, I do not or at least not to the exclusion of other areas of woodworking. I believe that working with hand tools requires a greater skill set than exclusively working with power tools. But for me, the joy of woodworking is in the creation of something that previously was not. The whole process, electronically powered or not, is that of turning a rough medium into something that can be called fine. Woodworking as a whole has been in so many ways a metaphor for my life as a Christian something rough and twisted being refined and made right.

17. How much of your work is done by hand tools. Do you use whatever is best for the job or do you use hand tools even when they are less efficient: I believe that efficiency needs to be counterbalanced with quality and beauty. For example, it may take longer to cut dovetails by hand and be less efficient, at least in my case, but it adds a look of craftsmanship that is worth the effort. I try to keep that balance in mind and thus, wouldnt use a tool just because it is hand tool.

18. What is your single most favorite tool, and why.
I think my chisel is the single most used tool in my shop. From getting slivers out, trimming joints, to cleaning up the perennial glue in the corner, I cant imagine life without my handy chisel. My least favorite tool, by the way, is my square. Argh!!! Curse its honesty!

Mike Henderson
11-08-2006, 1:14 PM
Great interview. Nice to know more about you, Jason.


Glenn Clabo
11-08-2006, 4:51 PM
Love your work...Nice to know you better Jason.

Hans Braul
11-08-2006, 6:49 PM
Thank you for this interview. It's great to get to know the man behind the work a little. And the work is very fine! I was really impressed with the photo gallery. I aspire to do work as fine some day.


Jim Becker
11-08-2006, 8:16 PM
Excellent interview, Jason!

Ken Bryant
11-08-2006, 10:13 PM
The Shaker cabinet is one of the nicest pieces I've seen. Congratulations.

Jason Tuinstra
11-09-2006, 12:01 PM
Thanks guys! And thanks to Zahid for asking me to fill out the questions.

Ken Fitzgerald
11-09-2006, 12:04 PM
Nice to know more about you Jason! Really enjoy viewing your work.

Howie French
12-12-2006, 5:29 PM
thanks for the interview Jason, and please keep posting.
I really admire your work !


Martin Shupe
12-12-2006, 8:12 PM

It is amazing to me that you are so talented at such a young age. I can only imagine the work you will be turning out 10 and 20 years from now.

Here's hoping I will always be able to watch your work improve. (not that it isn't already fantastic, I just want to be around to see it)

Your recent journey into handcut dovetails is an example of fine work becoming even finer.

I am honored to view the marvelous works of your humble hands.

You are truly an inspiration.

Moser, Becksvoort, Ingersoll, and Tuinstra!

Jim Becker
12-12-2006, 9:17 PM
You are truly an inspiration.

Moser, Becksvoort, Ingersoll, and Tuinstra!

Yea...what he said!

Jerry Olexa
12-15-2006, 7:22 PM
Jason, you are a guy we all respect!! And you are accomplishing your fine furniture results at an early age and with relatively humble (hobbyist level ) tools. Too many rely I think on the biggest and priciest tool to yield pro results. Your inherent skills shows through. Thanks for the interview..You are an inspiration to many of us....Now, if you'd only move back East/MW:)

Mark Singer
12-15-2006, 8:49 PM
Jason, you are making great stuff! Your level of skill is amazing at any age and considering how young you are ....it is even more unbelievable. I really enjoy seeing your work....your approach....your care to fine details... You get it...we do it right because we love this work! I feel the same!

Thomas Kila
03-06-2007, 4:20 PM
I really love the look of your Shaker Tall Cabinet. I can only hope to come close to building something like that some day. Thanks for the inspiration!

Belinda Barfield
03-06-2007, 4:34 PM

Great interview, and great furniture! When looking at your pictures I noted that you show several chairs with woven seats. Do you do this work yourself? I have two rocking chairs that need to be reworked. They currently have woven raffia, which I haven't worked with before. I was thinking about using a Shaker web. Any tips?

Jason Tuinstra
03-06-2007, 4:59 PM
Thomas, thanks for the kind words. The Tall Cabinet was a very rewarding project. I used drawings from FWW. It wasn't that difficult - give it a shot!

Belinda, thanks as well. Regarding the Shaker tape and weaving, it isn't that hard. Here is a link: http://www.shakerworkshops.com/catalog/shaker_chair_tape.php/tape This is where I got the rocker kit and tape for both chairs. They also have a link to step by step instructions. Hope this helps. Whenever I've done this, my wife has been involved. You need lots of room (at least we do) and you need a way to make sure that the tape doesn't twist. Have fun!

Belinda Barfield
03-06-2007, 5:06 PM
Thanks for the info Jason. I'll have to rethink things if I need lots of room, as that is one thing I am short of. We have guests coming for St. Patrick's Day but maybe after that I can spread out in our guest room and go to work. I will definintely check out the website you listed. If I get into real trouble maybe I can draft your wife to help!:)