My early years were influenced by my father who was a die maker cutting out patterns and setting knives to stamp out various boxes; including candy, ice cream, cereal, wax paper (yep Cut-rite’s boxes), etc. Dad had to cut out these patterns to within 1/32 of an inch freehand with a scroll saw. I was marveled by his skill to do so. It is this influence that guides my woodworking and woodturning endeavors to this day and always will.
After retiring as a Naval Combat System Engineer in 2004, I started Swiger WoodWorks, LLC, building custom woodworking benches, furniture, cabinets and doors. However, woodturning was always calling my name in the background; a carryover from my middle school days when I first turned on a lathe. Encouraged by my wife Brenda, and others, I redirected my woodworking efforts into woodturning. I immediately discovered feelings of serenity, happiness and pleasure… feelings of contentment!
To become an accomplished professional turner, I mentored two years with Don and Harriet Maloney of Bluemount, VA; well-known turners in the Washington, DC area. That mentoring process has now turned into a collaboration of encouraging each other to improve our skills. Every Tuesday I pack up tools and wood and head to their studio. This camaraderie continues to pay big dividends in the quality of my work. To further my capabilities, I take classes and workshops yearly with both internationally and nationally known professional turners including the likes of Liam O’Neil, David Ellsworth, Jimmy Clewes, Mike Sorge, Jamie Donaldson, and others.
Additionally, I attend the Annual American Association of Woodturners Symposium where I am influenced by turning demonstrators like Mark Baker, Liam Flynn, and others with their theories on bowl and lidded box designs, hollow form turnings, etc. It is the combination of all of these stimuli that continuously help me to define my wood art pieces and to propel my work to new levels.
Mid-Maryland Woodturners Club, Frederick, MD – Served three years as President, one year as Program Director, and club demonstrator
Catoctin Area Turners, Leesburg, VA – general member and club demonstrator
American Association of Woodturners – general member of this international organization
Collectors of Wood Art – general member of this national organization