Who picked up a woodworking hobby during quarantine?

My wife was used to me traveling to between 20~30 countries per year for work for pretty much our entire marriage. When Covid hit and we were all quarantined at our new home in Peachtree City Georgia, my wife politely asked me if I would take up a hobby. But with everything closed down I decided that woodworking would be something easy to start doing since I had so many samples of softwood, hardwood and plywood in our garage that was just screaming to be used for something fun. Plus, I always enjoyed watching this Japanese carpenter build things when I first started in the industry and he helped me build a few tables and my back deck expansion when we lived in Oregon.

I looked through some of my tool boxes and found an old copy of directions for making California Redwood Adirondack chairs that I must have randomly picked up over the previous 20+ years in the industry. I immediately set off to Home Depot to go through about 100 pieces of 5/4x6 and 2x6 pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine to get mostly clear pieces. Enough to make a couple of Adirondack chairs. After I made them, one of my neighbors came over and asked me what all the sawing noise was coming from. When I showed him the chairs, he asked me if I could make him 4 of them for his lake place. So, I did. And it was a lot of fun. And he and I were able to spend some time hanging out and getting to know each other better.

I had some Japanese Cedar T&G Paneling samples in the garage that I ended up ripping the T&G off of and running on my newly acquired Makita 12" planer and then ripping and chopping into components to make some child size and kid size Adirondack chairs to give away to some of our friends kids. Then I used even more of the paneling to make a kid size school house that a local Montessori school ended up buying from me.

One of the many positive impacts that the quarantine did for me was to give me even more of a passion for the wood products industry than I had in international wood products and building materials sales and marketing throughout my career.

One of the things that I learned quickly as lumber prices continued to sky rocket at the beginning of Covid was that you had to be very creative with a woodworking hobby so that you do not spend your entire children’s future college fund on lumber.

I have found that one of the easiest species to work with is cedar. Especially vertical grain and clear cedar. It was just so expensive to buy kiln dried clear cedar boards for a hobby and I was pretty sure I would end up with a lot of scraps at the outset. So, I ended up in the cedar fence section of Home Depot and Lowe’s every weekend going through entire units of fencing to find a handful of clear VG fence boards. In Georgia, I had Japanese Cedar and Chinese Cedar fencing that I was able to buy that was already kiln dried and it just needed to be surfaced. Now that we are back living in the Pacific Northwest, it is rough green western red cedar fencing from Alta at Home Depot and Lowe’s and they need to be air dried for a few weeks before they can be surfaced to rip and cut into components for projects such as lawn and garden products or to be run on the planer and router table into paneling.

Soon after starting my new quarantine hobby, my wife recommended that I start an Instagram account to easily share pictures of my projects with our family back in the Pacific Northwest so I started #stallcopwoodworking and soon I had other people who were woodworkers in our industry sharing their account hashtags with me and suddenly we were sharing ideas back and forth and I now have even closer friends in our industry from this.

Now that travel restrictions are lifting and I will not be home as much to spend time on my new hobby, I will definitely not let months go by before I get the tools out and build something again. The passion has been stoked and I can honestly say that when I retire I will now have a full time hobby to keep me out of trouble and out of my wife’s hair.

Please feel free to let me know what your Instagram account hashtag is if you also have a woodworking hobby. I’d love to exchange ideas!


@David_Stallcop the fence is absolutely gorgeous! Really matches the color of your cute dog. Did your canine friend help build it?


Hi Nadia. Those fence boards are just air drying for a few weeks before I surface them on my planer. And my labradoodle, Honey, is always by my side when I am working on my woodworking projects. For sure!


@David_Stallcop You’re projects are incredible. Don’t be so humble. Everyone please check out this page → https://www.instagram.com/stallcopwoodworking/

I’m considering getting into wood working. I just moved into a house with an an empty garage & work station. Given the warming weather I’ve been considering trying a new hobby. Where would you suggest I go to get started and find plans? I need furniture for the back deck.


Thank you, Andrew! Definitely start with cedar or pressure treated pine, but get clear lumber if at all possible. Then you won’t end up sitting on a hot knot in the middle of the summer! I can also schedule a business trip near you and visit and help you build some of the furniture! You can get some ideas on Etsy or https://www.tedswoodworking.com/new/vsl/ But I never buy the plans. I just look at the pictures and create my own plans and end up changing them to make them more “stallcopian”, LOL.


@David_Stallcop you do woodworking the way i cook! :joy: I see the dish, sometimes taste it, get the idea and go create my own exactly the way i want it. No recipe following for me == no woodworking plans for you! :upside_down_face:
It’s so much more fun this way!


Hot knots?! How am I supposed to know about this stuff without the proper guidance. Let’s get this trip on the books ASAP.

Ill start collecting wood and tools


Here’s a unique piece I ran across on an artist that uses plywood in a less-conventional, yet beautiful way. Check it out! This is more like a hobby I could have picked up during quarantine…I don’t mix well with power tools!

Artist Steve Keene showcases prolific works of pop culture on plywood

By Bob Krasner

Posted on April 6, 2022

Steve Keene in his cage, a structure inspired by a Frank Gehry show

Photo by Bob Krasner

Steve Keene makes art — a lot of it. It makes him happy that people hang it on their walls and enjoy it.

If it were up to him, though, this article would probably stop right here, as explaining his process and the impetus behind it are not at the top of his to-do list.

“I don’t want to be analyzed,” he states. “I just want people to like what I do.”

Keene, whose past gigs include being a dishwasher and a DJ, has produced over 300,000 paintings to date. That estimate is based on the amount of plywood — which he uses in lieu of canvases — that he’s bought over the years, as there’s no record of exactly what he’s accomplished.

He’s created most of them in a cage that he built in his studio in Brooklyn, although he’s been known to set up in an art gallery and paint away, creating up to 100 paintings a day assembly line style. Whether he’s made those works in public or in private, he sees the process as an experience that he is sharing with his patrons.

“I do like people to know that what I make is a souvenir of the way I work — they get part of the performance of that day,” he explains. “And it makes me happy when people say things like, ‘Thank you, I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

One of his more popular themes are classic album covers, but he insists that “the subject matter is not important.” Nevertheless, he is widely admired by music fans, many of whom bought his work at the Thread Waxing Space, an alternative music venue that thrived in Lower Manhattan in the 1990s.

“The album covers are about 1/3 of my work,” he says. “I kind of think of them as relics of a time when you were a kid and you’d spend an hour trying to decide what album to buy.”

For the record (no pun intended), the first album he bought was “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen, and his first single was The Beatles’ “Lady Madonna.”

His first big exposure commercially came with a commission to create an album cover for the band Pavement in 1995. Since then there have been other music projects, including a Klezmatics album that won a Grammy and gallery shows that have been hugely successful, with 1,500 or so pieces (or as little as 2 for $5) flying out the door at the Frieze fair — and somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 sold at a show at the Marlborough Gallery, where he spent a month painting in person.

It was at Keene’s show in LA in 2016 that East Village photojournalist/producer/activist Dan Efram realized that Keene was not keeping track of his work.

Efram, who’s been a fan of the artist for decades (with 100 or so Keene pieces to prove it), successfully pitched the idea for a Keene show to Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects gallery and ended up curating the show with Fairey as well as photographing the 800 pieces that made up the show for a possible catalog.

“He sold 550 pieces on the first night,” Efram informs us. “And I realized that Steve was not archiving his work.”

Sitting in his apartment with a fraction of his Keene collection, Dan Efram holds the book he first conceived of six years agoPhoto by Bob Krasner

Initially the idea was to reproduce the works from that show in a book, but Efram got ambitious — maybe a little crazy — and changed the project to an overview of Keene’s career. A successful Kickstarter campaign made it possible, but he couldn’t have done it without the help of the Keene collectors who sent him their favorite pieces so that he could photograph them for the project.

The result is a gorgeous 12″ x 12″ (that would be the size of an LP cover), 265-page hardcover ode to Keene’s prodigious output.

“The book is a love letter to his work,” says Efram.

Keene has slightly mixed feelings about the book, but not about the quality.

“It’s super beautiful,” he admits. “If I don’t try to overthink it, it’s really great. But the idea of putting everything in a book is that it’s frozen in time. For me that’s complicated. But it’s great, and very flattering.”

The Public Access gallery will be hosting a four day show which will also serve as a book launch. Gallery owner Leo Fitzpatrick didn’t exactly curate it, though.

“Steve came up with a plan and I facilitated it,” he explains. “I’m letting Steve do what he wants.”

That will probably involve hanging 500 paintings at about $5 each.

“Steve is best described as genuine,” he opines. “He has a signature style that speaks to me of growing up in New York.”

As for Keene, it might be tempting to look at him as an “outsider artist”, but he studied painting at Yale and spends many of his weekends going to museums. He’s happy to talk about his favorite artists — including Cezanne and Rauschenberg — more than his own work. He does mention that his method boils down to the fact that “I’ve dumbed it down to a craft – I don’t have to think about it. I’m in the moment.”

As for the massive amount of work that has gone out the door and the piles of art that still reside in his home, Keene muses, “It’s all one long day to me — it’s like I’ve been working on a painting that I started 30 years ago.”

“The Steve Keene Art Book” will be available at the opening at the Public Access gallery, 105 Henry St., Lower East Side, on April 7 from 5-8 p.m. and directly from https://bit.ly/3IsEfCu.