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Thread: Creeker Interview: Louis Bois

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Plano, TX

    Creeker Interview: Louis Bois

    1. Name (and nick names)

    Louis Bois

    2. Age/DOB

    44 years young July 9th, 1963

    3. Location (present and previous):

    I was born in Grand-Falls, New Brunswick and went to college in Moncton. From there, I moved to Quebec City, where I lived for about 7 hours (I was hired to work for an Engineering/Consulting firm that was moving the same day they hired me) and went from there to Ottawa, where I lived for 6 years. From there, I moved to Toronto...where I have resided ever since.

    4. Tell us about your family:

    I'm a 9th generation Canadian with French roots in both Brittany and Normandy. I lost my father to cancer when I was 16 and my mom is still a gardening wonder at 75. I have 2 younger brothers and an older sister. I've been married to the same lovely lady for 20 years and we have a 3-yr old son (the only 10th generation male in the Bois lineage).

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

    I'm a mechanical designer by trade and sometimes do some illustration work on the side. I've also done a fair bit of computer related stuff such as: build them, maintain networks, etc... I've recently experienced a mid-life crisis...sort of...and since flashy cars are too expensive, I've taken up one of my childhood passions...Skateboarding, or in this case, Longboarding. Yes, I am a middle-aged fool..and loving every minute of it!

    6. Equipment overview (hand tools and other):

    As is the case with most people on this forum, I have more tools than I can use! No, really. I have a plethora of bench planes (with a penchant for Millers Falls), some combination planes, LV tools (bench planes, shoulder planes, a block plane, etc...), a few LN tools (saws and block planes), a bunch of old 19th century saws, Auriou rasps and carving tools, drawknives, spokeshaves, braces, drills, assorted name it, I've probably got one in some form or other. I seriously need to thin the heard...anyone looking for something?!?
    Oh yes, I also have a few power tools, most notably a TOTL 12-yr old Craftsman table saw...and a 14" bandsaw by same. I have a router, but it scares the be-jeebers out of me...those suckers really spin fast!

    7. Describe your shop:

    I do all of my work in a basement space of about 300 sq.ft. (and that's being generous). All of my work revolves around my bench. Needless to say, stuff gets shuffled around quite a bit.

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

    I like the LV bench planes and use their versions of the 4 1/2 and 5 1/4 quite a bit. I also love their shoulder planes...very effective planes. I do most of my final smoothing with Infills that I've built or acquired, but my favourite is a Wayne Anderson smoother that I received in trade. It truly is an amazing tool and a joy to use. A few of my other favourites are two instrument maker's planes by Christopher Laarman. They just feel right in the hand and are a perfect blend of form/function.

    9. You favorite chisels:

    I'd probably have to say my Berg chisels.

    10. Your favorite handsaw(s):

    This is a toughy, but I'll have to go with a nice little 24" Disston #12 - Crosscut, from the turn of the century. It always steers true...I don't even have to try and hold a line.

    11. Do you use western tools or Japanese, why do you prefer the ones you use:

    I use mostly western tools...they're easier to find in the wild. I'd like to try "Eastern" tools someday...but first, to thin the heard...mooooo...

    12. Do you have a woodworking home page:

    I've had an operational webpage in my head for years!! LOL...but in practice, the time just isn't there for me to put it together the way I'd like to...yet.

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

    I don't prescribe to a specific style, but rather an agglomeration of many differing elements. I'm a big fan of the Shaker philosophy and love many Craftsman pieces (as well as "Glasgow style" work from Charles Rennie Mackintosh, etc...), but I'll pretty much go with anything that catches my eye or inspires me in some way.

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

    I guess the closest relative that serves as inspiration would be my maternal grandfather. Unfortunately, I never really met any of my grandparents as they all passed away before I reached my first year...but I apparently share some traits with this man who was a carpenter/tinkerer/inventor. I sometimes feel a bizarre connection to the past as though I was born in the wrong era...strange.

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

    That's an easy one. The rocking horse I made for my son's 3rd birthday is at the top of the list. The self-imposed deadline was hairy at times, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process...though I must say, the painting part still disturbs me a bit...but it's grown on me. Every time I put tool to wood (mostly handtools as witnessed in my account on this forum), I would envision my son (and future generations thereof...) riding this steed. It's the most satisfying feeling to walk into his playroom and see "Gabriel" proudly perched on his rocking stand.

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

    Next question. ...that's a tough one to peg. I'll admit that some moments could be defined as spriritual. I've often had an eerie feeling that a mallet...or chisel...or carving tool is being guided by unseen hands. It's as though I'm not really in control of the work unfolding in front of me. But then I have a cup of coffee and the feeling goes away.

    But seriously, the spiritual aspect is most prevalent during those pensive moments, working with hand tools...when everything else just ceases to be. I'm completely in the moment...lost in it. That's an enormously satisfying feeling. It's very difficult in this day and age to achieve this mindset with all the thoughts of everyday life plowing through the brain. Let's call it meditation and leave it at that, shall we?

    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:

    Let's face it, time is probably one of the biggest constraints we all have to deal with when it comes to woodworking. We either have limited time in the shop or we're making something with the intent of turning some sort of profit. To that end, power tools are used for most of the grunt work if possible. Though I can romanticize ripping 20'x10"X4" thick boards down the middle...the sight of a bandsaw will quickly snap me out of my reverie. I will use handtools for most every other aspect of a project...and by the end, most surfaces of a piece will have seen sharpened steel.

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

    It's difficult to pick just one, but the first that comes to mind (this week) is a little carving knife that was made by Eric Seguin from Quebec. It just flows as an extension of the hand and is a complete joy to use...something that is often overlooked by commercial makers.

    Bottom line? Any well-made hand tool, past or present, that performs the task it was assigned to do...and does it a winner in my book.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Plano, TX
    After a long wait an interview finally
    Nice to meet you Louis, you have an interesting writing style.
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Conway, Arkansas
    Nice to meet you Louis, always good to know another Millers Falls fan.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Good to know more about you, Louis!

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Grand Marais, MN. A transplant from Minneapolis
    Good to meet you Louis,
    Your work speaks for it's self
    Live Like You Mean It.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mooresville, NC
    It's always nice to get some insight in to the lives of folks who appreciate working with these tools. I love these interviews. Louis, thanks for giving us a chance to know you a bit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Rutledge, GA

    Interviews are always interesting

    Whoever came up with the idea for these interviews needs a pat on the back. Always a good read, and I like getting to know more about the folks that hang around this joint. I'll help you thin that herd a little bit, depending on cost!


  8. #8
    It's aboooout time Louis. I've wanted to know more about you for a while since I found out you were doing illustrations for PWW. glad you found the time. Thanks.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  9. #9
    Nice interview. Good luck thinning the herd.
    "When we build, let us think that we build forever." - Ruskin

  10. #10
    Louis - thanks for the interview. I really enjoyed following your rocking horse
    posts as they unfolded.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Laguna Beach , Ca.
    Thanks Great Interview! I really enjoyed learning more about you,
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Etobicoke, Ontario
    I must admit that I was a bit surprised to be asked to do this...I'm definitely not in the same league as others that have been interviewed before me. I was certainly say the least.

    My presence here is somewhat sporadic at times, but I check in as often as I can...though I am often too lazy to log in!!!

    It's great to see so many new names (and lots of regulars)...the forum seems to be expanding weekly!!!

    SMC has been a great source of information for me as I don't have any mentors to turn to locally...nor would I have the time to invest in some serious instruction. At my current place in life, I have to turn to books and forums such as this to get my questions answered. The people here are friendly and helpful and extremely generous with their time and resources. I look forward to being a part of this community for many years to come!!

    To all newcomers, I say, "grab a coffee, stick around...there's lots to see here..."

    ...and a big THANK YOU to all past contributors for the invaluable information that is so freely given...
    Last edited by Louis Bois; 11-06-2007 at 2:45 PM.
    Louis Bois
    "and so it goes..." Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Cape Cod, Ma
    Great interview, Louis. Thanks for your insight into our great hobby.


    Maybe I'll think about that tomorrow

  14. #14
    I love your work, Louis! I'm still planning to build that vise of yours someday...

    I'm glad to see you get interviewed here, it's very cool...

    Keep it up!


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Etobicoke, Ontario
    Thanks Leif! Please post some pics when you do get around to building that vice. It's a very functional size...and it sure is a pleasure to use!

    For those of you who aren't familiar with the plans that Leif mentioned above, there was a PDF file officially posted on Chris Schwarz's Blog sometime early last year. Here's the link in case you missed it.

    I'm assuming it's ok to post this link here. If not, please remove it at your discretion Zahid or Dave.
    Louis Bois
    "and so it goes..." Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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