Carving a business out of a passion
Faced with paying $200 for a particle board table with a Formica top, Alec Williamson set out to prove to his wife he could craft something better for less money.
She just put her hand on her hip and said, ?Then do it?.
That was in 1968.
I made the most awful looking thing you ever saw in your life, Williamson laughed. It was atrocious. But I had fun and I've been doing this ever since. I just started cutting everything in sight, even a couple of fingers.
— — — Business Card
Alexander's Fine Woodworking.
Custom-designed, hand-made furniture.
appointment. — — Born and raised in Hawaii, Williamson relocated to Medford in September 1994 to be near his parents who had settled at Rogue Valley Manor. He moved briefly with his wife, Janet, to the Bay Area to work as a foreman for a large cabinet shop.
The Williamsons returned just before Thanksgiving last year.
It was too crowded there, Williamson said. Too unfriendly. All the reasons I left Hawaii in the first place.
The woodworker has returned to Central Point to create the custom woodworking designs he loves.
There is nothing more beautiful to me than the grain of wood, he said. I don't think human beings could come up with a design that can match it.
Williamson has created furniture, computer desks, office built-in units, bedroom suites, hope chests and tables using myriad woods. A portfolio provides examples of his work, crafted from teak, koa, quilted maple, cherry and walnut.
Crafted in designs evolved from past generations of Hawaiian furniture makers, Williamson's final products contain sweeping, gentle curves and inlaid designs. Some pieces are purely Oriental in appearance.
Before constructing a piece of furniture for a client, Williamson gets an idea of what is desired, where it will go and the function it will serve. He then renders the idea into graphic form using a computer-aided design program.
I try to keep from using nails, screws or hardware, Williamson said.
While still in Hawaii, Williamson tried his hand at century-old woodworking techniques.
I wanted to find out what it was like to be a furniture maker 200 years ago, he said. So, I used no power tools, used rough-sawn lumber. I surfaced it, glued it up, made all the pieces, everything was done by hand.
I learned two very important things: I learned that the people who did this 200 years ago were really, really dedicated. And I learned why God gave us electricity.
Williamson is available for consultation by appointment.
Reach reporter at 776-4463, or e-mail .