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Lighthouse

Woodworking

Lighthouse Woodworking Maker's Mark

Biography

A native of Pennsylvania, Ron grew up in a military family and lived throughout the world with his parents and three brothers. In 1981, he entered the US Army as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers following graduation from the Pennsylvania State University, and over the course of a 30 year career likewise lived and traveled throughout the United States and abroad.

Ron began working in wood in 1995 as a favor to his mother-in-law, who continues to hand-paint the historic buildings of Clifton, Virginia, on scaled profiles Ron cuts from white pine. Investing the commissions from this early work in tools and books, Ron developed fundamental skills in woodworking. In 1998, with access to a 2,000 square foot basement in military quarters at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Ron began working principally in native hardwoods, including walnut, cherry, coffee bean, ash, and red oak prevalent in the Midwest. Prior to his transfer to Honolulu, Hawaii in 2000, Ron grossed $15,000 in furniture sales in a six-month period, and the idea that making hardwood furniture could be a second career was born.

In the summer of 2003, Ron felled, limbed, bucked and milled his first lumber from trees on family property. Assisted by his wife, daughter and two sons, the family and contracted sawyer turned huge poplar and red oak logs into fruity poplar and fragrant red oak boards. The family continues to mill their own lumber whenever logs become available; often, this is wood that would have otherwise ended in a landfill.

In 2004, Ron and his family were posted to Sacramento, California, where Ron made a number of pieces out of claro walnut, a richly colored and highly figured hardwood available in the state. In 2007, Ron received orders to Winchester, Virginia, with duty overseeing Department of Defense construction in the Middle East and Central Asia. Between trips abroad, he continued to complete furniture commissions in walnut, cherry, ash, and oak in the Shenandoah Valley.

Officially retired from the military on 1 October 2011, Ron and his wife now live in Boyce, Virginia, where Ron has established his woodworking shop and business, focusing on custom, handmade hardwood furniture.

Business Principles

Several events shaped Ron’s conception about what a furniture making business should be. Early in his career with the Department of Defense, Ron and his wife knew that frequent moves across the country and abroad would bring considerable wear and tear on the couple’s furniture. Thus, well before Ron began to make his own furniture, he and his wife sought solid wood furniture for their home. Cherry, a species prevalent throughout Pennsylvania, was a natural choice.

Invariably, even with the utmost care in packing and transport, this furniture received damage. However, as the furniture was solid wood, it was generally easy to repair. One notable exception occurred when the couple moved to the Hawaiian Islands. As the moving crew unloaded the first of several crates of household goods and furniture, the footboard of the couple’s supposed solid cherry bed was found irreparably broken in two. Close examination revealed that the footboard and headboard were not solid cherry, as claimed by a furniture salesperson, but veneered particle board, instead.

While veneered wood certainly has a place in fine furniture, the loss of trust that resulted from either an unknowing or dishonest salesperson was as irreparable as the broken footboard.

Lighthouse Woodworking builds furniture to your specifications, and you can be completely assured that if you order an item in solid walnut, for example, you will get solid walnut. Our guarantee is quite simple: we want you to be happy with the furniture we build for you, and when you’re not we will make it right.

Ethics and Moral Code

At the core of the Lighthouse Woodworking business model is the Golden Rule, to treat others as we would have them treat us. We endeavor to live by the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, perhaps the most famous carpenter who ever lived.

Environmental Sustainability

Ron holds an advanced degree from the University of Virginia in environmental engineering. Much of the lumber used by Lighthouse Woodworking has been felled, limbed, bucked, and milled into lumber in a way that limits environmental damage to woodlots and forests. This wood is air-dried, saving energy over the typical kiln drying process. Wood shavings, sawdust, and off cuts are reused, recycled as mulch or animal bedding, or fuel. Nothing is wasted.