Patrick “Leh” Meriwether
I have always enjoyed woodworking, but I did not start getting into it seriously until I started my own law practice. I have become enthusiastic about woodworking through the years through making custom furniture for my home and my business.
The passion started in 1996, when I wanted to start my own law practice, but I had little funds. To save money, I looked into refinishing old, used furniture for my law office. Then I was hooked. I started to build all kinds of items for the office, including bookshelves, book holders for our desks, custom pens and items to organize paper around our copier.
Flash forward 17 years, our firm has 12 lawyers. Even though I could afford to buy nice desks, I was not happy with my selections and wanted to build something that made a statement, something that was solid. I wanted something that was simple in design because I was going paperless, but stunning in appearance. That led me to start working with wood slabs.
At home, I was very disappointed by furniture in the store for children. I will never forget my first trip to Babies R’ Us. “You want how much for that particle board?!?” was my initial reaction. My next statement was, I can build that for less money with solid wood and it will look better. Eleven years later and we have never bought a piece of furniture for our children. The first two rooms were built around themes. One was a farm theme and the other a train theme. Most recently, I built our kitchen table and I am preparing to build our dining room table out of two enormous book matched slabs of Walnut. The original pieces were over two inches thick, twelve feet long and thirty inches wide. I can’t wait to finish this project. It is going to look awesome!
As I learned more about woodworking, it became my own personal form of therapy to release the stresses that a fast paced divorce practice produces. I used to find a fair amount of release through Judo (I am a black belt in Judo), but the dojo that was allowing me to teach Judo decided to merge with another one and focus solely on mixed martial art competitions. The closest dojo now is almost an hour away from my house. The bad news was that I would miss Judo. The good news was that now I could spend more time woodworking.
Of course, the more you woodwork, the more you want to buy better and better tools. So I started to sell my turning to help fund my woodworking. Being a lawyer, it is easy to sell cool looking pens to other lawyers. Many lawyers love pens. Now I am learning how the wine community loves custom bottle stoppers. So, I plan on expanding into that area as well. I do not make much money from my turnings. It is more driven my seasons than anything else (Christmas especially). I just do it to provide a little extra cash to pay for certain woodworking projects. We are a Dave Ramsey family, so we do not borrow money for purchases. We save up, and selling some of my turnings helps me to save faster.
As a woodworker who wishes to grow and improve, I am only limited by my time. I have children, so when most woodworking shops are having woodworking classes, I am spending time with the kids. That leaves little time to learn, except through reading and trial and error. Of course, one might ask, if you don’t have time to attend woodworking classes, why would you start a woodworking podcast? The answer is simple. I love woodworking, and I love to share what I have learned. I can control, to some extent, when I record my podcast. This gives me flexibility. In preparing my podcasts, I find myself performing more research and thinking through certain subject matters in greater detail because I am going to be accountable to the listeners of the podcast. This helps me learn. In addition, I hope that my podcast can grow a community of people from whom I can learn as well.