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Thread: Neander interview: Jim Koepke

  1. #1
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    Neander interview: Jim Koepke

    1. Name (and nick names):

    James (Jim) Koepke

    In high school a friend gave me the nick name Strawberry because I often wore a red shirt and sunglasses. (It came from an elephant joke if anyone is old enough to remember those)

    2. Age/DOB:
    60 years, born 1950

    3. Location (present and previous):

    Most of my life was spent in the San Francisco Bay Area until after my retirement in 2008 when we moved to South West Washington. I also lived in Western Tennessee for a short time.

    4. Tell us about your family:

    I am still married to my first wife. She had three daughters when we married. We have a son together. Two of the daughters are in the field of teaching. One works with animals. Our son is an Air Force Language Specialist.
    We have seven grandchildren, three girls and four boys.

    I have four brothers, three older and one younger.

    5. How do you earn a living, woodworking or other, any interesting previous occupations:

    I am retired from working at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). I was an electro-mechanical technician repairing the ticket handling equipment. I also worked on the transit vehicles before that including a time as a mainline technician riding the trains and taking care of problems that occurred while the cars were in use.
    I have also worked as a silkscreen printer, drafter and stock clerk.

    We also grow plants for sale in our greenhouse. We are also starting to raise chickens and hope to make some income from that.

    6. Equipment overview (hand tools and other):

    I am mostly a hand tool kind of guy. I do have a bandsaw, lathe, drill press and a few corded tools. My Makita drill motor is likely my most used power tool.
    Some might think I have a plane fetish, but honestly, I have met a few people with more planes than me and more multiples of the same sizes.

    7. Describe your shop:

    My shop is a stand alone 25X25 two car garage. It is mostly for my use, but there are a few things being stored in the space. It is a bit of a mess as I have not fully figured what has to be tossed. It serves as my wood shop. It is also used for a little metal working, motor and vehicle repair space when needed.

    8. Tell us about the hand planes you own, and your favorite one(s) to use:

    I own at least one each of the standard bench planes from #1 - #8. I also have a lot of special purpose planes. All but one of these are Stanley/Bailey style planes.

    Picking a favorite hand plane is almost as difficult as choosing one's favorite child.
    One of the favorites is an old type 6 #4. This is made even more difficult because I have two of those. I do pick up one of the #5s often enough, but then the #6 gets used a lot for the same type of work.
    Then there is the #3 that gets the call when it is just a small area to be cleaned up.
    There are also a few rounding planes that I like for breaking sharp corners that get used on just about everything.

    9. Your favorite chisels:

    That is easier, it is a 1" Buck Brothers bevel edged pairing chisel that seems to have a magic edge. I also like my Karpenter 1" and Stanley 440 1-1/4"

    10. Your favorite handsaw(s):

    There are three or four that come to mind, a Bishop #10 and three Disston saws, a 16" crosscut back saw, a crosscut #8 and a #8 rip.

    11. Do you use western tools or Japanese? Why do you prefer the ones you use:

    Mostly western tools. I have a few pull saws that I like for some things. I have found that once I have learned to use the western saws that I can get straight and square cuts with them.

    12. Do you have a woodworking home page:

    No

    13. Do you have any influences in your work? Certain styles or designers you follow/prefer:

    I am pretty eclectic in what influences my work.

    14. Do you have any ancestors who were woodworkers that served as inspiration:

    I know many of my ancestors were in the woodworking arts, but I never met any of them. My parents had a furniture store and I always liked things made of wood.

    15. What is your favorite neander project, or part of a project, you have ever done and why:

    I like building Adirondack style chairs. That was my first project to lead me in to the joys of woodworking. They can also be quite comfortable. My latest one is still in the shop and gives me a place to enjoy a cup of coffee while sorting out the day's chores.

    16. Do you believe there is any spiritual dimension to woodworking with hand tools:

    Yes, but it is difficult to explain.

    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 will mostly use hand tools. The main exception to this is the band saw. Though with long pieces it is often easier to rip by hand than to set up the band saw.

    18. What is your single most favorite tool, and why:

    This is a hard one. As soon as I think of a try square I bought at an estate sale it makes me think of the marking knife which leads me to the saw cutting to the line and then cleaning up with a block plane if needed.

    Then there are the times when I want to make holes.

    19. If you were a hand tool what would you be and why:

    This is just like question #18. As soon as I think about one tool, another comes to mind. My choice would be to be a multi-tool that could do it all.

    20. We have to know, what’s your favorite ice cream:

    Ben & Jerry's Phish Food
    Last edited by Zahid Naqvi; 07-05-2011 at 10:31 AM.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  2. #2
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    Jim, nice to know you better, you contributions on the forum have always been helpful.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  3. #3
    Nice interview, Jim. It's always nice to know a little more about the regulars.

  4. #4
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    Me,too,Jim. I have enjoyed reading your posts.

  5. #5
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    I fourth that motion. Even though it seems that the tutorials don't get a lot of attention I enjoy reading them and seeing all the little details in the photos (ie. rainbow suspenders...uh-oh...bay area? rainbow suspenders? )

    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    Me,too,Jim. I have enjoyed reading your posts.
    It's sufficiently stout..


  6. #6
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    End of the Oregon Trail in Oregon City, Oregon
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    Hi, Jim. Indeed it is good to get to know you a little better. I always brighten up a bit when I see I have one of your posts to read. I really should drop by and see you sometime, since I'm just down I-5 a ways from where you live!
    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Fishers, Indiana
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    Glad to read your interview Jim. I have really enjoyed going back and looking through your tutorials.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zahid Naqvi View Post
    20. We have to know, what’s your favorite ice cream:

    Ben & Jerry's Phish Food
    Ah... a fellow Phish Fooder

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Carlsbad, CA
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    Jim,

    Thanks for doing the interview -- I really enjoyed getting to know you better. Like everyone else above, I always enjoy your posts and they consistently bring a smile to my face.

    I very much enjoy your sense of humor and perspective; you strike me as a gracious guy who's "been there and done that" and is willing to help, without shoving anything down someone's throat. Thanks for making The Creek a better place.

    Mike

  9. #9
    Jim, great interview!! I don't get over here very often anymore since defecting to the round side. But, I thoroughly enjoyed learning a little more about you.

  10. #10
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    Stony Plain, Alberta
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    Nice to get to know a bit more about you Jim. I too enjoy your posts.

  11. #11
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    Thanks to all for the kind words.

    all the little details in the photos (ie. rainbow suspenders...uh-oh...bay area? rainbow suspenders?
    My favorite color is rainbow…

    Hi, Jim. Indeed it is good to get to know you a little better. I always brighten up a bit when I see I have one of your posts to read. I really should drop by and see you sometime, since I'm just down I-5 a ways from where you live!
    Steve
    Thanks Steve, just send me a PM if you are planing on coming this way. You will be welcome.

    Thanks for doing the interview -- I really enjoyed getting to know you better. Like everyone else above, I always enjoy your posts and they consistently bring a smile to my face.
    A comment like this will keep me smiling all day, thanks.

    I very much enjoy your sense of humor and perspective; you strike me as a gracious guy who's "been there and done that" and is willing to help, without shoving anything down someone's throat.
    As long as we stay away from politics…

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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