My journey to become a serious woodworker began with a six-month stint in Moscow,
Russia, helping to rebuild an orphanage. Aside from learning the basics of the craft
from Kim Whitten, a seasoned architectural woodworking professional, I also learned
how to do more with less. That lesson was further honed when I worked with furniture
maker John Brigham who uses reclaimed materials to craft his furniture. When I opened
my own shop in Arroyo Grande, California, my path was set.
While some might assume that using coarse materials would necessitate equally unrefined
joinery, nothing could be further from the truth. I always strive to produce the
highest quality work. Achieving refined results from wild wood requires patience,
skill and tools that are up to the task — three things that I am slowly acquiring.
After experimenting with different tools and techniques, I discovered the
Festool TS 75 Track Saw and found that when used with its innovative track
system, it delivered the precise results I needed. The system also provides the
flexibility (and elbow room) I need to cut large and irregular-size workpieces in
my small workshop. Recently, I worked on a "waterfall" countertop that
would have been exceptionally challenging to make using a table saw, but the TS
75 and its track were ideal for the job. The texture of the wood didn't faze the
saw and track at all.
As a pragmatic, results-driven woodworker I'm willing to try anything that will
help me realize my vision, but I was initially somewhat skeptical that the TS 75
was worth the price. However, it didn't take long for me to appreciate how the saw's
precision, durability, quality of cut and easy setup improved my efficiency and
work quality. I've since acquired several other Festool products, such as the Domino XL Joiner, 1400
EQ Plunge Router and MFT/3 Work Table.
A big plus for me is that all of the tools work together as a system, so I'm able
to achieve quick, consistent and repeatable results. As I continue to build with
reclaimed materials and refine the distinctive look of my work, I'm confident that
Festool will remain key to the success in my shop.
Ben Riddering Design & Woodcraft
I'm a firm believer that there's nothing second rate about recycling and repurposing
wood. For me, old wood's patina exudes character and tells a story that provides
my work with a unique aesthetic quality.
Since starting my company, Ben Riddering
Design & Woodcraft, I've been using old wood, from barn boards to wine barrels,
to create what I call modern-rustic style furniture, cabinets and doors. The material
is green, sustainable and each board is uniquely beautiful. Acquiring the seasoned
old wood and other reclaimed material is a challenge and an ongoing adventure.