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Thread: Neander interview: George Wilson

  1. #1
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    Neander interview: George Wilson

    Its been a while but what better way to get back on track than with this gem of an interview. Without further ado I give you George Wilson a true craftsman.

    1. Name (and nick names):
    My name is George D. Wilson

    2. Age/DOB:
    I am 69 years old,dob is Feb.20,1941

    3. Location (present and previous):
    I live near Williamsburg, Va.

    4. Tell us about your family:
    I am married and have 1 daughter and 3 grand children.

    5. How do you earn a living, woodworking or other, any interesting previous occupations:
    I graduated from Old Dominion College in 1963. Taught shop in Portsmouth,Va. for 2 years. I was interested solely in making guitars and some banjos. At night, I had access to the school shop, and would work till about 10:00pm. After going home to supper I'd drive the 20 minutes back to work on guitars. I had no place for a shop, living in an apartment with my wife, and no money yet to buy my own equipment. This is one of the main reasons I taught shop for some years. I taught drafting, wood working, metal working, and leather working. A few of my students made a violin, a guitar, and a ukulele.
    I went to North Carolina for 4 years, where I taught math 1 year and shop for 3 more years. I was discovered by Earl Soles, Director of the then Craft Shops in Colonial Williamsburg, in 1968. I had been teaching instrument making at Penland Craft School in Spruce Pine N.C. for 2 Summers. It is a very noted school for teaching many different arts. When I was there, I had, by chance, brought an Italian 16th.C. style harpsichord I had been making. It was my first harpsichord. The man who ran the tavern in Old Salem Village in Winston Salem, N.C. saw the harpsichord unknown to me. He told Mr. Soles about it, as he knew Mr. Soles was looking for a harpsichord maker to make a harpsichord for the newly opening Music Teacher's Room in Williamsburg. Mr. Soles called me, wanting me to come up to Williamsburg to see about making a harpsichord. I went up, taking my wife and had a guitar to show and had made a detailed small pierced carving for the back of a lute's peg head especially to show him.

    Mr. Soles made it clear when he first met me that he was looking for instruments to be made NOT an instrument maker. There was nearly no documentation for such in Williamsburg from the 18th.C. After he had seen my work, I could see that he got much more interested in me.

    I went back to N.C. heard nothing for many months and carried on teaching drafting and woodworking. I was the only good shop teacher they had ever had in the school system and the superintendent had gotten interested in me. I had managed to build a shop from nearly nothing. I beat the bushes and got wood and glued up tops for work benches donated by a furniture factory. The superintendent started sending other shop teachers to see my shop, wanting them to do as I had done. He told me to order whatever equipment I wanted for next year and never mind the budget. I ordered several machines, hand tools, and other things I wanted to have for a decent shop. I still had heard nothing from Earl Soles, and operated my shop as if the whole Williamsburg thing had blown over.

    After I had received the machines and other tools I suddenly got a call from Earl offering me a job as Master Musical Instrument Maker. Very embarrassed, I had to go tell the superintendent that I had an offer I couldn't refuse. He cheerfully offered to take me back if things didn't work out.

    I moved up here in July, 1970 and set up my own equipment in a private building for 1 year. I was very excited and sort of bewildered at the very large challenges and deadlines I faced. I had never veneered any thing like a large surface. The harpsichord I was copying had veneer all over its cabinet. Panels, stringing, and banding everywhere. It turned out that no one else in Williamsburg had ever veneered anything either. Not even Jan Heuvel, the middle aged cabinetmaker from Holland, nor old Mr. Simms, the furniture conservator, except for some repairs.

    I had to work out a way to bend the thick harpsichord's bent side also, and veneer everything but the lid. I worked like a demon by myself and got a huge amount of work done. I was 29 years old and in deep water. I got everything done in that first year; making an English guitar, some other instruments, the inlaid lute, several side projects, and made some trips to study in the back rooms and instrument repair shops in the Smithsonian. Every 3 day visit exhausted me as every minute was filled with making detailed drawings,etc.. There were no windows, and the atmosphere was tiring. I was also the keyboard tuner in the museum. Harpsichords need FREQUENT tuning like a guitar. Every time the Music Director went to do a concert, his harpsichord and I went with him.

    After I had gotten the Harpsichord's cabinet finished, veneeredand varnished, had made the keyboard and the registers, I got permission to hire an apprentice. I got Marcus Hansen, who I'd known in N.C. where he was studying classical guitar at the N.C. School for the Performing Arts. Marcus had never made anything except a bone saddle for his guitar bridge (and they come already cut to size!) He helped me to make the many jacks, two per key. His wife said he was so tired he would fall into the bed when he got home. I was really pushing against the deadline for opening the Music Teacher's Shop. It didn't even occur to me to ask them to delay a few months.

    We got the harpsichord there in time. It still serves and has been played so much that the ivory has worn through on many of the keys. I never saw that much wear on another keyboard ever.

    Earl told me to move the shop to a big room in the maintenance area,and spend a year making everything I needed to open the Musical Instrument Shop. Marcus and I were out there making storage cabinets, lumber racks, and generally making the place livable. We had to make shelves, workbenches, tools and a hundred other things to make the Instrument Shop. The walls were bare when I got it. I went around and bought some old violins just to hang up in the shop. About 6 months later Earl suddenly wanted us to get the Instrument Shop open!!!

    Another mad scramble, but we got it open and it looked good. There were just Marcus and me for a year. It was pretty rough. Someone had to be talking all the time and I did not feel free to take any vacation time. After a year we got another apprentice. Over several years we got built up to a staff of 4, with 1 Summer helper. It was a long haul getting to the level of having a decent staff.

    We made the Musical Instrument Maker of Williamsburg movie in 1974. A very ambitious venture where we made both a spinet harpsichord and a violin. You have no idea how hard it was, many times having to do some work over again because some trash got into the camera's "gate". The lights were extremely hot. I had a fireplace behind me and a very uncomfortable wiglet painfully pinned to the back of my head. I was sweating like crazy inside my loose shirt. Everything had to be done during the Winter when the noise level was less. We got done, as usual. It was the most complicated craft film they ever made,and the last. They never made a cabinet making movie. I don't know why.

    The floor was like walking in a pit full of snakes during filming. An incredible number of cables everywhere. We started very early every morning, and worked till the daylight was insufficient.

    It was after the film that I made the highly inlaid guitar, I think. Also, I made a lion headed violin for the Concert Master of the Baltimore Symphony. The same lion head, pretty much, I made later on. I'd decided to make another one to keep as it was a nice project. Meanwhile, plenty of regular type work was going on.

    In 1981 I was asked to make the casting patterns for reproducing an 18th.C. fire engine we had in Collections. There were 30 castings in it. The director had noticed that I had done some machining at home and for quite a few years I'd made tools as a break from making and talking about instruments all day. Plus, at that times I had a TINY little workshop only about 6' X 10'. Too small for making things of much size.

    I had a Jet bench lathe 10" x 24", JUST big enough to barely machine some of the castings we made. The Geddy Foundry had never made large castings. They had mostly only done small, decorative things and some silver castings such as spouts and handles for the silversmith shop. They made brass candle sticks to sell in the stores and other items of smaller sizes. Pretty soon they had to take out a layer of bricks inside their furnace to make the interior big enough to hold 150# of bronze in a big graphite crucible.

    My first patterns started out as smaller parts, such as the elbows for the "branch" a long copper tapered tube that water squirted out of. I was able to have 1 original part of the engine at a time. Since I had a big selection of threads in the lathe I was able to make every part with exactly the same threads as the originals. They were 80 London "Vee" threads,which I believe was the traditional thread form, and may still be in use today. The original threads had been machined exceedingly nicely in a primitive lathe in the 18th.C., possibly a special purpose lathe. I was amazed at how cleanly and accurately those old threads had been cut. They definitely had not been made with a tap and die set. Thus, I didn't mind threading them on a lathe, albeit a modern one.

    Shortly after the project started,the Assistant Director came down with severe back trouble. The project threatened to grind to a halt. Some secretary had said "If you want power around here, SEIZE IT!" I did seize it, and had to really force the project through. It wasn't easy dealing with a bunch of hard headed master craftsmen, most of whom did not have a lot of interest in this project. We had been granted a lot of money to do this job by the makers of a well known commercial fire engine, and I had to get it done.

    The Foundry wanted to give me 1 casting a month!!! It would have taken over 2 years to get this job done at that rate! The Master Blacksmith was not interested in doing much, it seemed, except decorative work. When he finally went on vacation, his men started cranking out parts. I managed to get the foundry to give me 2 castings a month. Remember I had to make those patterns first, PLUS they were all hollow, and required core patterns to also be made.

    I ended up as the central figure, because I was putting the whole thing together in my shop, which was crowded. I was making all of the drawings too and issuing them to the blacksmith shop.

    I PROSECUTED this project HARD every day for a whole year and got it done in 1982. We have the ONLY authentic accurate reproduction of an 18th.C. Newsham fire engine in the World as far as I know.

    Earl, the boss, started in on me to start a behind the scenes tool maker's shop after the engine was done. I was reluctant to do so for various reasons. After 4 years, in 1986, I gave in. I can't say I have ever been sorry for a nano second since. I didn't have to wear the uncomfortable costumes, talk to the public, etc.. I got left to myself. I think Earl might have come out there 2 or 3 times a year (he wasn't much better in the Historic
    Area, either!) I got only about $12,000 to equip the shop. The woodworking machinery was already there. That meant everything came from Taiwan.

    I went to Grizzly in Williamsport, Pa. and bought 2 16" X 40" metal lathes. One for them, and 1 for me (paid separately). Then I went to Bridgewood in York, Pa. and got 2 milling machines. Again, 1 for me. I still have those 2 machines. The mill is still in service in the shop I worked in.

    One of my early jobs was to make the copy of the 1802 Chamblee surveyor's compass for David Brinkley, to get him to stay on as head of the Raleigh Tavern Society for another year. His presence had been a big draw for the society types that were big contributors. He stayed. I finally pried Jon Lauback out of the Gunsmith's Shop after 2 years. He had wanted to work with me from the get go, but it took time for them to replace him (which I don't think was possible!) Jon was great to work with. He liked to do the very jobs I didn't like to do, such as weld and blacksmith. We fitted together into a very versatile unit.

    In 1988 I had to make a FLOAT, of all things! We were given funding to participate in the 1789 parade in Philadelphia celebrating the Constitution. In the old parade, tradesmen throughout the town had made floats and were practicing their trades rolling down the street. They were hammering swords into plowshares on the blacksmith's float. I was a bit dismayed when I saw the huge 16' farm wagon I was to make a forge on, plus roof.

    I got going and made a close copy of one of the forges at the Anderson Blacksmith Shop.. It was made of plywood, but I made it realistic, covering it with thin, fake (but real brick material) bricks. Also, slathered its hood with thick gesso, painted dirty white. The roof was four cedar tree trunks about 4" dia., with a crude framework and covered with handmade cedar shingles. The Women from the weaving shop came out when finished and added all the buntings etc. to make it into a festive float. We went up there and did the parade, hauling the float in a rented furniture size van.

    The work included making the common bench planes and all kinds of saws for every craftsman who needed them. I posted pictures of some of these in the Neanderthal Forum some time ago. Previously I hadn't bothered to make special photos of the more common tools. Just the occasional presentation piece, like the Brinkley compass, which gave me a chance to do some nice work. Naturally, our secluded status made us the target of bad comments from a few petty guys who were jealous. Whenever we did special exhibits of our work, I had those presentation photos to put out. So, we were accused of only making presentation pieces. That was so stupid, since those same guys were being issued our tools!

    We also made the 12 music stands, a job I dreaded, because the musicians always broke their legs. No body was ever held accountable for anything they carelessly broke. I made the boss promise we wouldn't be asked to repair them!!!

    We enjoyed making some of the special tools, like surgical tools, because they were a chance to do good work. The women in the Apothecary Shop always took care to never let them get rusty. We showed them how to maintain them, and they did the best job of taking care of our efforts.

    Jon retired at 62 a few years ago. A young man from the silversmith shop wanted to work with me, so I put him on. He was in his 30's and had been trained at Tiffany's for 5 years. His father repaired clocks for the Smithsonian. He had not done any woodworking, or used lathes or milling machines.

    It wasn't the same without Jon at all. A big layoff of 140 people was made a few years ago. I didn't care, being 67, I was past retirement age. The powers that be were laying off their most experienced people to save the higher salaries they had made. To have laid off newbies would have been to lay off 3 times as many. I knew their reasoning. It hurt a lot of people in their 50's though. I was always lucky. I was there during the Golden Years of Trades and would just as soon not suffer the under staffing they must. I haven't been sorry a bit to leave!!

    6. Equipment overview (hand tools and other):
    Another long question, I'll try to shorten it: I have a complete woodworking machinery shop and a complete metal working machine shop. 10" table saw, 15" planer, 8" jointer, Oliver wood lathe, 18/36" open side Delta drum sander, Dust Gorilla dust collection system, side stroke belt sander, 12" x 6" disc and belt combo sander, 14" old Delta band saw w/height attachment. Rebuilding a 20" Delta (actually just repainting and re-motoring it to 1 phase).

    The woodworking machines are in a 16' x 22' original 1 car garage. All the fly stuff gravitates towards the back wall where I had a 18" shuttered exhaust fan installed. It is just behind the filter of the dust collector. Anything that gets past the collector goes out the fan.

    The main room is 30'x 40'. In it is my machine shop. a 16" x 40" metal lathe, a Hardinge tool room lathe (my prize machine), a Bridgeport type vertical mill, A German Deckle fp1 universal mill, a Harrison horizontal mill (with swinging table), a 14" metal cutting contour saw, a Roll In band saw for large cutoffs up to 9" dia., a 4"x 6" horizontal/vertical metal band saw, a metal shaper, and TONS of accessories.

    My woodworking bench is also in the main room. I made it years ago. It has a dust collector drop for sanding at the bench.

    As for hand tools, I have about 350 carving tools, several saws, many I made, several planes, same thing. Actually, I have WAY too much stuff from going twice a year to the flea markets starting in 1970. Back then, there were several great tool dealers, and prices were affordable. I started buying woodworking machines when I got my first real job teaching shop. Got my 10" Dewalt table saw, my 15" Craftsman drill press soon. Next year, I got my old, like new, 14" Delta 14" band saw. I still have all of these. I was interested only in guitar making from ages 13 in 1954 till about 1974, when I branched out into making tools, and got my first machine tools for metal.

    7. Describe your shop:
    I designed my shop and had it built. It goes with the 1949 house. The house is very much like the houses in the Historic Area in Williamsburg. I hired painters and carpenters from Williamsburg to work on it. They said that Col. Williamsburg. used to sell plans of houses in the Historic Area and felt that this house was made from those plans. The original builder owned a lumber mill across the highway and custom sawed all of the lumber for the house. All the wood is hard yellow pine and way over sized. No plywood anywhere.

    This was the first, and only, building I was ever able to design from scratch and I used skills from many years ago when I taught architectural drafting among other things.

    The house, and the shop, are 30' x 40'. Both are 2 story. The shop has its own bathroom, tucked under the stairs, and a laundry sink outside its door. It is the only home shop I've ever had that had a toilet and sink. This was especially necessary since we have as many as 3 or 4 employees working upstairs in our jewelry making shop. We had the upstairs left unpainted and untrimmed with an OSB floor. I laid a laminate floor with my wife. I had developed spinal stenosis during moving, before this process, and was in increasing pain, but we had to get our business up and running ASAP. We also had elected to paint the interior of the shop ourselves, saving $8000.00. It took 3 coats in spite of using the best "hiding " paint over the plasterboard and tape walls. The ground level shop I had had made of 6" fiberglass reinforced concrete. Probably overkill, but I had 3000# machines and didn't want the floor to crack.

    The 6" floor was poured over a plastic sheet. I have had no moisture problem in the building. The building is fully insulated and there are heat pumps for each floor.

    I had 400 amps put into the building with 6 gauge wire run around inside the walls so I could have a 10 h.p. lathe later on, should I want. There are outlets about every 10' everywhere around the building. Many are 220 V. There is an electric, insulated, garage door. There is a good alarm system built into the building as well as in the house, with motion detectors wired to the police. There are double insulated windows everywhere in the building. I have replaced most of the windows in the house with them.

    After surgery, I went back and put in the baseboards and trim for the whole building. Mostly, I used a hand saw miterbox and an old Lion trimmer to save dust. I'd also had to replace the quarter round moldings in the entire house. They were removed years earlier when apparently shag carpeting was installed. Also, in the house, all the doors had been cut off very roughly for the shag. There were 1 1/2" gaps under the doors.

    I had gotten a Bosch electric plane,and smoothed each door bottom, lengthened them, and sanded flush every new "patch". The doors proved to be so much trouble to remove the paint from. I trashed all of them and installed new doors after all that trouble!

    In the shop we had painted 3 coats inside the whole building and I'd put baseboard in both floors. We had gotten all the machinery moved in and there were hundreds of boxes in the middle of my shop.

    I got some great hard pine from a friend who has a lumber mill nearby. He gets it from N.C.. There are hardly any knots in this wood. It is light years better than the soft crud you get in the BORGS, and much cheaper. I needed this shelving to hold WEIGHT and used 4" deck screws to screw it into the studs in the walls.

    During the building process, I took video of all the processes and where the wires were inside the walls. Before the plaster board went up. I went around the entire building and added where each stud was to my drawings. Therefore, I made only a few misses when drilling for the studs..

    The first load of the hard pine was not planed,and was only $1.00 per bd. ft. I planed it to 3/4" thick. Jon had bought part of the load,too. We used new knives to plane the wood, changing them when any sign of wear appeared. With the Dispoz-a -Blade system in place, we were able to plane an excellent surface on the wood and could avoid sanding it. The second load was planed and was $2.50 per bd. ft.. Still a LOT better than BORG pine.

    I built at least 400' of shelving in my shop,and about 40' for the jewelry shop, all my wife wanted. I always make my knees so that a 12" section yielded 2 knees, drawing the "S" curve so the 2 required only 1 band saw cut. Then I sanded the cuts with a drum sander.

    As I got shelving done, I unpacked boxes, organizing stuff as I went. Now, there is not 1 space where there is not shelving.

    I had also bought heavy 3" and 2" angle iron and made a big lumber rack that covers 1 of the 16' walls of the wood room and is 2' deep open sided to the front. Other lumber is stored in my house's basement and some in a large lawn shed I had built. The house has 3 dormers. The shop also has 3 to go with the house.

    8. Tell us about the hand planes you own, and your favorite one(s) to use:
    I own a few old Stanleys, a Norris jack plane (late model from the 30's). I don't think anyone else ever used it, but that thick lacquer got pretty beat up. I need to go over the finish and melt new nitrocellulose into those dings. If you nurse the lacquer enough with lacquer thinner and add new lacquer you can "weld" it back together.

    I have a few old wooden planes. My favorite one was a Nurse when I used them all the time, each day.

    I kept a set of the wooden planes we made, but need to make irons for them. My favorite planes are the ones I've made. The dovetailed ones were posted in the FAQ section here by Zahid. I also have several LN planes that I use a lot. Their adjustable mouth block plane performs better than my new LV "art deco" plane, or my old Stanleys. I did a test involving some difficult cutting and the LN did the best. I like the LN miter plane. It is the only large low angle plane I have at home and will plane curly maple if I get it set up right.

    9. Your favorite chisels:
    My favorite chisels? Hard to say. I have a set of Marples I bought about 1965 and keep going to them. I suppose my favorite ones will be my Pfiels, IF I ever finish the handles. I was making London pattern handles, octagonal, but now am not sure if I like the way they feel, so I'm in a quandary. The round, curved boxwood handles on another old set of Marples (and on some antiques) are quite comfortable. What to do???

    10.Favorite handsaws?
    Definitely the ones I made, especially my Groves back saw copies. I like the original Groves too. I doubt that any old maker ever exceeded the quality of 1095 modern spring steel. My saws are considerably harder to file than any old saws, and hold up better.

    11. Do you use western tools or Japanese? Why do you prefer the ones you use:
    I never have cared for Japanese tools. I think gravity works backwards on that side of the World. Actually, I grew up with Western tools and just prefer them. Possibly I'm just used to them. I definitely prefer flat bottomed chisels. It would kill my back to pull planes.

    12. Do you have a woodworking home page:
    I have no personal home page, though I need to make one. I'm not too computer savvy though. If you google George Wilson Guitar Maker, it will give you a website that has some of my work.

    13. Do you have any influences in your work? Certain styles or designers you follow/prefer:
    I think Gibson made guitars that were better shaped than Martin,which are very square. They definitely made the nicest looking arch top guitars. Much of my former years, before Williamsburg, I made classical and flamenco guitars. The Spanish makers influenced me the most. Old Ramirez guitars especially. I have of course been influenced by antique instruments, being in a museum for 39 years. The Italian work in the 16th. and 17th.C.'s was about the best to my eye. My inlaid guitar was based on Italian style.

    As far as tool design, I think tool design reached its zenith in the mid to late 19th.C.. that is when I have seen the best, most carefully finished tools, and the best designs. I am partial to the English in that area. I had to build 18th.C. tools in wmsbg.,but that was my job.

    14. Do you have any ancestors who were woodworkers that served as inspiration:
    I do not know a lot about my family and do not have information about craftsmen in it. My grandfather on my mother's side was very intelligent and made a lot of money as a printer. He was also teaching in college when he met my grandmother. They lost it all in the depression. One ancestry I know of was Sir Francis Drake's family (he had no children.)

    15. What is your favorite neander project, or part of a project, you have ever done and why:
    Favorite Neander project was the 17th.C. Italian style guitar in the FAQ section. The inlaid lute at George Wilson Guitar Maker was a favorite,too. The Guitar was sort of a bigger challenge. I had to make and use a 20" deep yew wood fret saw. It had to encompass the guitar body. Holding that saw up without breaking the very fine jeweler's blades took some strength in my wrist, and getting used to. Plus, the whole job was done with the public about 4' away. Some of the lute was made before I opened to the public. I sawed out most of the rose in Marcus Hansen's dining room. Then it had to be carved everywhere.

    16. Do you believe there is any spiritual dimension to woodworking with hand tools:
    There must be some spiritual connection in using hand tools. Especially in very tiny work, I have developed the ability to somehow "feel" what I am doing, even if I can't SEE what the tip of the tool is doing. The tip is often too big to see what is going on, like in making the 1/32" letter E with serifs. Some of those cut away parts are only about .006" wide. Also, the same thing in making the "Delphia" name punch. It is only about 1/32" high. The "Estrin" stamp I made for my wife is only a little over 1/64" tall. All these things have been posted in the Neander forum if you do a search for them.

    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:
    Now that I am partially disabled,I use the tool that does the job best. That includes thicknessing wood. I use to have to hand plane and scrape my guitars' woods before I had money for a planer. Only a few years ago I got a Delta Drum sander. It has made life a lot easier. I use hand tools for the artistic parts, like carving, or inlay work. For dovetailed metal planes I have always made the dovetails by hand. Especially on a curved side plane the dovetails have to be carefully brought together by degrees and a lot of looking before filing.

    18. What is your single most favorite tool, and why:
    My most favorite tool is very hard to say. It would be one of the ones I have made, like my brass shoulder plane, most likely. It isn't as used as the groves style dovetail saw, though.

    19. If you were a hand tool what would you be and why:
    The last,and hardest question. I suppose everyone would say something like a plane. However, I have thought about this, and a good bench knife with a fine tip can do nicer things than just about anything else, such as carve the lion's head.


    The END!!!
    Last edited by Zahid Naqvi; 10-16-2010 at 1:42 PM.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  2. #2
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    wow! talk about a life full of craftmanship. This interview is a bit of a read but but worth every bit. Thanks for sharing a piece of your life with us George.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for prodding me into it,Zahid.

    I neglected to say that my Grandmother was a commercial artist. She designed the Maxwell House coffee label, with the tipped up coffee cup pouring out the last drop.

    Her friend drew the Morton Salt label with the girl walking in the rain.

    She was done in as a working artist by the advent of half tone printing. Before that came in,she would draw things like sheets of corrugated metal by making thousands of tiny dots to create the shades of corrugation realistically.

    I saw a few typos. One refers to the TIN bricks on the blacksmith's float. That should have been THIN bricks.

    I wish I had said that I was able to realize the dreams of my youth. No one when I was growing up was ever more interesting to me than someone making things.
    Last edited by george wilson; 10-15-2010 at 11:46 PM.

  4. #4
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    Very interesting! Thanks!

  5. #5
    Thanks for the bio George. I will always remember my chance to tour your old domain at Williamsburg just outside the historic area.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  6. #6
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    You have had a life of purpose and creation. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. #7
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    Fantastic interview of a man with a fantastic life. Thanks,
    Gary

  8. #8
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    Thanks for taking the time George, I really enjoyed it. Now, get to working on the book...

  9. #9
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    Wow George, you're a helluva guy. I feel pretty honored to be in a forum with you actually.

    I don't know if everyone's seen the video of the harpsichord making or not, but I just looked it up and it's on youtube. Just do a youtube search of "Colonial Harpsichord and Violin Making" and it has parts 1-6.

  10. #10

    George's Activities

    I "virtually" met George in a Machinist's Forum on the web. I had posted about a milling machine that I had recently purchased. George contacted me to let me know that he had an accessory for the machine which I might like. His "hard sell" to me was - "brand new, practically free".

    It was very interesting to learn more about George via the web. Turns out that we've both made guitars during our woodworking careers and like/need to work metal to create the projects which we undertake.

    I consider it a genuine priviledge to have bumped into George. One of those treats that life offers up every now and then.

    Chris

  11. #11
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    Great article George. You can talk the talk as well as walk the walk. Very interesting to read how you've gained such a broad and deep understanding of the interests that you pursue.
    The Plane Anarchist

  12. #12
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    2

    George Wilson

    George, Just stumbled across this interview. Helped to fill in some of the gaps since I first met you around 1963 and then again in Williamsburg 1976-77. Dad held you in high regard both for your intellect and great talent. You both were similarly motivated in constantly creating with your hands. Best to you
    David Woodruff

    If you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter how you get there.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Chocowinity, North Carolina
    Posts
    244
    George,

    Being a harpsichord maker, I joined this site when I found out you were a member. I'll bet I've watched your 1974 video more than anyone else in America - it was, as is, most inspiring. However, I had no idea of the breadth and scope of your varied accomplishments. After twenty five years of building these instruments, I feel I still have much to learn and less and less time left to learn it. Having said that, it is beyond my ability to understand how any one person could become so accomplished in so many different fields. It's a testament to your talent, intelligence, and perseverance and my admiration for you increases daily. Please....... write the book.

    Ernie
    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths."
    -Steven Wright.

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