About the Author

Craig Bentzley
Photo by Paul Anthony, courtesy of Woodcraft magazine

Hello. My name is Craig Bentzley and I’ve been addicted to woodworking for over forty years. For me, it’s been a good problem to have – for my family, maybe not so much. As a youngster, I was always building something and to my father’s chagrin, I was always using, abusing, and losing his tools. I built tree forts, model airplanes, birdhouses, and plenty of other stuff. I was one of the few students that took my shop classes seriously, whether wood or metal shop, and I eagerly enrolled in drafting classes for all three years in senior high school. My goal was to become a tool and die maker, doing one-off work in a highly specialized machine shop.

In my senior year, I picked up a part-time job in a machine shop and it was a great experience but due to the de-escalation of the Vietnam War, they lost some contracts and let me go. A few weeks later a company that made components for the seating industry hired me as a Junior Designer. That was a major turning point in my life and I stayed at that job for eight years. I worked with some great contemporary furniture designers and soon started designing my own furniture. A huge influence was local furniture icon George Nakashima. I made most of the furniture for my first apartment and made several commissioned pieces with the barest minimum of tools in an attic and later, a basement shop.

The next milestone was in 1974 when a new designer joined the company I was working for. He had a penchant for antique furniture. Despite our difference of opinion, we became fast friends and soon I started to develop an appreciation for older furniture. Eventually I became enamored with hand tool technology and 18th century American furniture design and they remain a passion to this day.

I went on to work in three furniture restoration shops, an architectural restoration shop, and a high-end kitchen cabinet shop. I also started writing about woodworking in 1990, beginning with Rodale’s American Woodworker, and later I contributed to Popular Woodworking, and WOOD magazines. Most recently, I have been regular contributor to Woodcraft magazine. Currently, I spend most of my time building furniture on a commission basis, restoring antiques, drawing plans for historic furniture, serving as a consultant for several tool manufacturers, and trying to keep my honey do list to a manageable size.

I also teach classes and give presentations at guilds and woodworking shows. These experiences are always rewarding and I’ve found that I enjoy passing on what I’ve learned almost as much as woodworking itself. In conclusion, I’ve discovered woodworkers to be a special breed and as a generality, you couldn’t meet a nicer, more generous group of people.