LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM with a Woodmaster woodworking business of his own

Give a man a 30' x 50' shop and a Woodmaster and he's good to go. At least that's the impression we got when we interviewed woodworker, Edson Miller.

Give a man a 30′ x 50′ shop and a Woodmaster and he’s livin’ the dream. At least that’s the impression we got when we interviewed woodworker, Edson Miller.

You hear a lot about “The American Dream” these days. A big part of The Dream is the opportunity to make your own way, maybe own your own business. Thousands and thousands of Americans are doing exactly that, running their own small-shop woodworking businesses.

Here’s one of them, Edson Miller, from Idaho. His story is inspiring because he started with little woodworking experience and, today, he charts his own course.

Mr. Miller makes a wide variety of furniture. Here's an outstanding set of cedar Adirondack patio furniture he made, ready for delivery.

Mr. Miller makes a wide variety of furniture. Here’s an outstanding set of cedar Adirondack patio furniture he made, ready for delivery.

“I’ve run several different businesses over the years. I had a seamless gutter business, and a lawn care and maintenance business. I dabbled in woodworking all my life. In the last few years, reading woodworking articles and watching videos, I gained enough confidence to start my own woodworking business. Today, woodworking is almost a full time business for me. I do some sales and office work part time for a storage shed company to even out my time and income.

Here's some handsome shelving, especially with the curved shelves and corresponding curved base trim.

Here’s some handsome shelving, especially with the curved shelves and corresponding curved base trim.

Rustic & Fine Furniture

I make both rustic and fine furniture including Adirondack style furniture, desks, tables, kitchen cabinets, and more. I also make a lot of bunk beds for a national company. It’s kind of like a franchise. They help me advertise but I get a lot of business through my Facebook page. That’s my primary advertising though I’ve used craigslist, too.

I bought a mid-sized 18” Woodmaster Molder/Planer and used it to make all the trim for a house we were building. Now I use it primarily for planing stock for my bunk beds. I purchase rough or semi-rough lumber — oak, hickory, whatever. I buy it from a company that supplies cabinet shops. They drop off a load for $20.

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Here's one of Edson's specialties -- a beautiful and very functional bunk bed.

Here’s one of Edson’s specialties — a beautiful and very functional bunk bed.

I edge the boards on a table saw. Then I put it through the Woodmaster Molder/Planer. But if I’m making molding, I use the Gang Ripsaw attachment to cut several blanks at once. Then I set up the Woodmaster as a molder and run the blanks through. The thickness of lumber I buy can be inconsistent. Some boards are thicker than others so I started planing every board with my Planer. I plane both sides, and go down to 1-3/8” for example.

The Woodmaster’s a multi-use machine. Changeovers between functions is not hard — I can switch heads in about five minutes. If you were switching functions back and forth a lot, though, you’d probably want a second Woodmaster.

Everybody we talk to praises the Spiral Cutterhead. Edson agrees. "It is absolutely awesome. It’s incredible!"

Everybody we talk to praises the Spiral Cutterhead. Edson agrees. “It is absolutely awesome. It’s incredible!”

I chose the 718 model because it seemed to be the most popular. It’s a good size for me, 18” planes everything I need to do. The 12” model wasn’t big enough and I didn’t need the next bigger one, the 25”. A few times, though, I’ve wished I had the bigger one. I can tend to overbuy rather than underbuy; bigger rather than smaller. I’ve never heard anybody say, ‘I wish I had a smaller wood shop.’

Sandpaper-smooth surface with Spiral Cutterhead

I do a lot of work with hickory. If you’ve used hickory, you know it tears our badly because the grain is just crazy. I got Woodmaster’s Spiral Cutterhead to eliminate tearout and it is absolutely awesome. It’s incredible! It eliminated 90% of the tearout. Here’s another example. I put a piece of fir through the spiral cutterhead and asked a friend to guess what grit sandpaper I’d used. He couldn’t guess. But I hadn’t used sandpaper, just the spiral cutterhead. It was that smooth.

I have a Woodmaster Drum Sander, too, a 38” double drum model. When I got into woodworking production, I saw I could save a lot of time with a drum sander. I figure it sames me 80% of the time I’d spend hand sanding.

Plus, the double drum arrangement is a big advantage. I put coarser grit paper on the first drum and finer paper on the second one and run wood through both drums in one pass. Or, when I want to, I can sand with just ONE drum by raising the coarse-paper drum OR the fine-paper drum. That’s a lot of sanding flexibility.

Factory Tour

Edson Miller owns a Woodmaster Drum Sander, too. But that's another story, and another post on the Woodmaster Drum Sander Blog!

Edson Miller owns a Woodmaster Drum Sander, too. But that’s another story, and another post on the Woodmaster Drum Sander Blog!

I’m 100% happy with both my Woodmasters. Never regretted a thing. Service is great, really great people. A couple years ago, I stopped in the office in Kansas City and the owner, John Miller, gave me a tour of the whole Woodmaster factory.

(Editor’s Note: If you’re near Kansas City or passing through, you’re invited to make Woodmaster one of your stops. Contact us in advance and we’ll give you the whole tour, too.)

For anybody thinking about getting a solid woodworking machine that will get you going and last a long time, go for a Woodmaster. And if you’re getting a Woodmaster Planer, go with the Spiral Cutterhead, too. It’s terrific – really can’t be beat!”

— Edson Miller, Magic Valley Wood Works, Gooding ID — Woodmaster Molder/Planer & Drum SanderOwner

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