The original Red Oak Hollow is a valley a few miles outside of Kewanee, IL, bisected by a gravel road with a small stream and oak trees throughout. I grew up in Kewanee and, when we were kids, my mom used to take my friends and me out to Red Oak Hollow for the day. She would drop us off with canteens and knapsack lunches and we would play for hours among the trees and along the stream. We climbed trees, looked for arrow heads, and just did fun boy stuff. I thought Red Oak Hollow epitomized everything good in life - sharing the great outdoors with friends. In researching the internet a few years ago, I looked up "Red Oak Hollow" to see if this web site would appear. It didn't, but to my surprise, a great story about the same Red Oak Hollow appeared, written by Bernie Howe of Kewanee who also enjoyed spending time there. It was a great article and for several years, I had a link to it here but just found out last night (9-18-2015) when I talked to Bernie at our high school reunion that the server on which he had that article had crashed and it was lost. I visited Kewanee in September 2010 for my high school reunion five years ago for my 45th. My wife, Judi, and I drove out to Red Oak Hollow to get a photo or two to share with you. It was quite disappointing to see that Red Oak Hollow was pretty much overgrown and filled with shrubs, vines, trees, and so forth to such an extent that I couldn't even get down into it from the road. I guess that is what happens when you don't go visit a place for fifty years.
When I started making wood crafts, I realized that I needed a name for my new enterprise and, loving wood as I do, the name Red Oak Hollow popped into my mind. I adopted the name and adapted the game to my woodworking hobby, which has evolved from cobbling a few boards together as a kid to making things as an adult which people actually recognize. And what fun it is! I have slowly evolved, too, from making square things like bookcases, shoe cabinets, folding tables, and children's rocking chairs to making round things like bowls, platters, pens, and more.
My transition from "square" to "round" occurred in 1998 when I became aware of the Capital Area Woodturners (CAW) in the Washington, DC, area. Living in northern Virginia, I attended a woodworking show near Dulles Airport and saw members of CAW demonstrating the craft of woodturning. The guys were friendly so I attended one of their meetings, then another, bought a used lathe, and got hooked!
Thank you for visiting my web site. It is a great pleasure to share my story with you and I invite you to browse through the other pages as I continue to develop this site with additional information and pictures of some of the things I have made. I also do specialty turning of favorite family wood to make keepsakes to pass down from one generation to another. For more information on that, please see the Special Turnings page. From Dec 2005 through December 2012, I was doing full time custom architectural woodturning, making things like balusters, newels, finials, and so forth for builders. Now I have pretty much retired from the architectural work and have returned to hobby woodturning, making bowls, bottle stoppers, large hollow forms like vases and such. I have also developed a line of large wood woodturning tools for use by those demonstrating and teaching the craft of woodturning. There is a lot of information about them, which I call Tom's Tools, at TomsTools.com.
For now, please enjoy browsing the rest of this Web Site and let me know if I may be able to provide something for you for yourself or as a gift for a wedding, graduation, Christmas, or other special occasion.