About Charles Neil

Well, I don’t like talking about myself, but I will do my best.

First off, I am you, a woodworker, I’ve just been at it along time. I do it professionally and have for about 30 years or so and I’ve been finishing since I was 13. I’m now 59, I started finishing painting cars and later got into doing all the customized stuff. I have always had a love for wood and found furniture and construction in general to be fascinating. Ever since I was a little kid, I would tie, or later nail “stuff” together….just loved creating. As I got older I really started looking at antiques and very fine furniture and it just captivated me.

Where I grew up in a small town here in the Shenandoah valley, we had several original old plantations that had survived the Civil War. The owner of one of them, Ms. Kathryn Alexander, was my baby sitter and I spent lot of time there and was fascinated by the furnishings. In my teens and up through my late 20’s I spent time helping care for her and the house. It had a lot of wonderful pieces of furniture and some were brought here in the 1750’s from Pennsylvania by ox and cart. Part of the property was surveyed by George Washington and the corner stones were so chiseled. To this very day I know where they are located. The house contained huge highboys, corner cabinet’s, pie safes, clocks, rockers, Windsor chairs, beds of all sorts, and it was just fascinating to me. I  studied them hard and through the  various courses of life’s twist and turns my love for woodworking and fine furniture never diminished, and I simply kept at it. At one point I decided to build some things for sale and put them out, and folks bought them and have never stopped. Thus started my woodworking career, and here I am today.

In my world, you had to learn to be very inventive, and “make do.” improvise, and thats how i learned to do woodworking. A chapter in my life found me in Charleston, SC where I had the priviledge of working with several old masters whose forte was building repros of amazing museum pieces as well as repairing and restoring them. Here I learned a ton, taking apart antiques worth millions of dollars and seeing how they were made, and understanding they had survived hundreds and in some cases thousands of years, was to say the least, an education few have been afforded. I was like a sponge….and am grateful for the education it afforded me. The only power thing we had was the electric light bulbs in the small shop, the rest was totally old school.

Today things have changed a lot and yet remain the same. The internet has opened up a whole new world to me, a world that allows me to share my experience and knowledge, and I got a few more tools than I had, but I still like it kept simple. I started the video, writing thing out of a pure distain for the information being given to other woodworkers. I found it to be presented in a very complicated manner, presented as achievable by only the smartest and most elite and seemed the writer was far more interested in impressing you than teaching you. So here I am, I have no desire to impress you, nor entertain you, but I hope in a very informative, personal, simplistic way I will be able to teach you what I have learned,.

That’s about all there is to me except to say I take my woodworking very serious, other wise, not much else, I am a fighter, I don’t let life get me down, and I do enjoy laughter, cutting up, or as we say in the South “cuttin fool.” I find it much better to make a joke and laugh at it than cry about it.

I know my woodworking and finishing is a talent…its a divine gift, as well as my gift to communicate in simplistic language and it was given to me to be shared, so I try my best to do it. I certainly don’t know it all and learn everyday, I make alot of mistakes, and I try to learn from them….and my goal in all of this is to share my knowledge, make a lot of friends and enjoy doing it….so here we are….email me, call me, I am just like you so dont be bashful…

Dont forget to sign up for our free monthly newsletter …  http://charlesneilwoodworking.com/newsletters.php

23 Responses to About Charles Neil

  1. Mitchell says:

    I hope you don’t mind but I have listed you in my blog. If you find anything you don’t like please let me know and I will change it. When and if you view the site you will understand why this is important to me.

    Mitchell

    http://theparttimewoodworker.blogspot.com/

  2. Mike Jones says:

    When reading the blog today, you asked if anybody was reading this thing and I promise , I read it every day. Thanks for your much appreciated efforts.
    Mike Jones

  3. Jr. adams says:

    Hey Charles
    just wanted to let you know that yo are doing a good job on your videos you know a lot of stuff and it is interesting. keep up the good work
    Jr.Adams

  4. Rick Potter says:

    I am writing to thank you for sharing your wealth of
    knowlege. I am a hobby woodworker and will never attain your high degree of workmanship, but I enjoy the heck out of trying. I first found your work referred to on the Sawmill Creek website, and it brought me to one of your videos on YouTube. It was the bump routing segment. Fantastic idea.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Rick Potter

  5. Wes Billups says:

    Charles, I couldn’t figure out a better way to contact you so I’m using this section to ask a question. I’m interested in purchasing your latest video which I have a link to but I can’t seem to find a link to your video store as I wanted to see if there are any other videos I’d be interested in. Just email me with a link or instructions on the best way to see all the videos available.

    Sorry if the link is obvious and I’m just over looking it.

    Thanks,
    Wes Billups

  6. Ken Weinert says:

    http://charlesneilwoodworking.com

    Then use the menu on the right and choose “DVD Store” and that should get you there straight off.

  7. Newton Eunice says:

    Charles we read and anticipate your blog every day and a really disappointed when there is not one. We understand with your busy schedule there are going to be days you can’t do them . We thank you for all the knowledge you impart to us. Just because we don’t tell our wives we love them every day doesn’t me we don’t. Thank you for all you and Sherri do. docnewt

  8. Thanks Doc…means alot…we try to get here every day, but sometimes we just got to work to have something good to show or talk about..but we try.and will continue

  9. Mark Coulter says:

    “So here I am, I have no desire to impress you, nor entertain you, but I hope in a very informative, personal, simplistic way I will be able to teach you what I have learned,.”

    I think you nailed it in every way! When I came across your videos on Youtube I stayed up all night watching all of them. You come across as very personable and knowledgeable.

    Thank you so very much for sharing your years of experience.

    Mark

  10. Mike Jones says:

    I would love to take some of your bubinga rung cutoffs . Don’t mind paying something as well. I would just like to tell folks where the bubinga came from to let them know we are a community.
    Thanks
    Mike

  11. Rob Weaver says:

    Charles,
    great website! Your YOUTUBE tip on staightening doors was very helpful. Doors have been a challenge.
    I’m just getting into funiture and love it. I’ve been researching every place I can on basic design and appropriate proportions. Proportion is so critical, with all my custom pieces (I don’t have a blueprint)
    Do you have proportion “rule of thumbs” that you use?
    I appreciate your down to earth perspective on woodworking.
    Thanks,
    Rob Weaver
    Toledo Ohio

  12. Charles,
    Nice to meet you. I’m brand new to the computer and just came across your stuff the other night on You Tube. I’ve been hearing about this You Tube stuff for a while, nice to know it can be used for such usefull stuff.
    I”m 43 and have always wanted to do your kind of stuff. To create and design is what I crave. I just now, on about day four found this spot where I can tell you how very well you are doing.
    You make me almost regret my choice to become a west coast logger, but it has been a fun and rewarding career and has taught me a lot about being a man. In high school I did very well in woodshop [at home my tablesaw was a skillsaw stuffed through a used piece of plywood] since they had very nice tools to use.
    Just you and I in the shop, right.
    I got into specialty woods for guitars years ago and could tell you an awfull lot about cutting the stuff and finding the trees that are figured and even several methods of drying it, but what I would like to pick your brain about is building nice things from it and avioding shrinkage.
    Absolutely loved your get back up thing. Makes my back fusion seem a pittance.
    I’m trying to build some things now because this economy is trying to kill me. I’ve lost my house and have relocated and have rented a storage unit where I have started some small projects. Nowhere but up from here.
    I’m guessing a moisture meter is the key, but I’m fresh out. Any good tricks?
    Sorry so lengthy, I’m just a little personable thats all.
    Thanks for all your info I’ve already stolen from you.
    Please keep it up.

  13. Charles
    Thanks again your clear about each detail and I appreciate the time and effort . I remember when you said Sherri suggested you start a blog saying what ever that is? You sure figured it out. Great job as usual my friend. I hang on each word ,detail and photo .
    Jim

  14. Jed Dyke (Kindlingmaker) says:

    Charles and Sheri and family,
    Mickey and I hope this day is a wondrous day filled with laughter and cheer!

  15. Thomas Tieffenbacher says:

    Just found your bio…Good to see how you came to be. It is important to have a mentor and someone to show us what we need to know. I looked for one and couldn’t find him/her. Even if I offered to work for free! I think learning pays for itself? So …your video’s keep getting better. Hope you find your way in these hard times. but,,as you quoted Thomas Jefferson, a hero of yours I think,,,”The harder I work the luckier I get.”

  16. Rob Weaver says:

    Thanks for all the good direction Charles. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

  17. don says:

    Charles,

    Picked up a large slab of redwood that we’d like to make into a table….it’s a bit on the dry – fragile side….suggestions for something to help secure it so the edges won’t fall apart, please?

  18. RON west says:

    Yes, you are a gifted teacher in that you do keep is simple. I love your style and down to earth personality. Thank you so much for sharing your talents. Many times I went to other woodworkers asking them to show me how to do something. I was never turned down. Woodworkers are a wonderful group of people. I was a State Police Officer for 30 years and when ever I could I would hang out at many different cabinet shops. Oh yes thank you so much for not having music playing while your working and teaching. I hate it when these shows or demonstrations play their music. It’s down right annoying. THANKS AGAIN FOR SHARING YOUR TRUE GIFT.

  19. John Paul Kirk says:

    Hey Charles your the best. I spent 16 years in the cabinet making business. Now I am retired, and want to fill my days building beautiful furniture. Your local and the best, I know you have lots to teach me, I am excited and looking a head to learning to build beautiful furniture with you.
    John Kirk

  20. Charles Mullins says:

    Charles,

    I follow you a lot for the great tips I get for woodworking. I noticed the classw announcement for the blanket chest and I must say it is beautiful. The only problem I have is the feet seem so extreme in the curve that there dosen’t have any straight grain wood from the foot to the post. Is it really that extreme or is that only a photo distortion. Curosity is getting the best of me.

    Sorry, I can’t attend–too many obligations here.

    Thanks,

    Charles Mullins

  21. Charles Neil says:

    Charles,

    The foot is pretty extreme, however we drill the foot and insert a dowel up into it, to reinforce it, have done many of them and no issues ,

  22. Chuck Vlkojan says:

    I really enjoy your videos, the material and presentation. Am interested in your DVDs.

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