Friday, October 5, 2007

Bill Collins - 5th Gen. Woodworker

Ana Reinert's newly arrived blank Kokeshi, she said it was taunting her, poor Ana. Photo courtesy of Ana Reinert.

Blank Kokeshi on it's travels to become something more than just a piece of wood.

This is Bill Collins, a well-traveled gentleman who is so much more than just a woodworker. This man has heart.

A little bio I received from Bill:
"Bill descends from five generations or more of woodworkers on both sides of his family. His Great Grandfather Collins was a cabinet, carriage and casket maker in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. His Grandfather Collins and his father built wooden tanks in the oilfields of West Virginia and houses and churches when metal tanks replaced the wooden ones. His Mother’s Wagoner Family ancestors brought woodworking skills from Germany in the 1700’s, and settled in Ohio and Kansas.

Bill has been an avid woodworker most of his life, and a member of the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association for more than twenty years. He chairs five different committees. His favorite wood projects are small utilitarian items such as stools, recipe, stationery and jewelry boxes, rolling pins, cutting boards, aids for handicapped people, and most recently, canes. Much of his work is donated to worthy causes.

His Grandfather Collins’ woodworking tools were the start of his extensive tool collection, which now includes hundreds of beautiful old planes, chisels, saws, measuring devices, hammers, braces, levels and other miscellaneous tools. He uses all of them before he puts them on display, and borrows from his collection when he needs just the right tool for a particular job. "

Part of Bill Collins' extensive collection of antique tools including "beautiful old planes".

Some of the necessities to the shop.

Other necessities: friends and fellow woodworkers. Left to right, Bill Collins, Al Devries and Jack Thurman.


Jack Thurman making multi-colored cutting boards. They are beautiful, several different woods are used to create stripes of color. I was given a board as a gift that day, I love it!

Harry Feucht hard at work cutting moose, hee hee!

Harry met Bill 15 years ago and they have been working in the shop ever since.

Finished blank Kokeshi with Bill working on another in the background.

"I was a Navy officer for 23 years before retiring in 1978. I brought home Kokeshi dolls for my young daughters when I visited Japan and have always appreciated them and certainly the opportunity to be involved in some small way in the (Kokeshi) project." -Bill Collins

You can write Bill at WCollins(at) or call his workshop for your wood projects, 1 619 232-4626. He is located at 632 9th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.

A finished Kokeshi by yours truly.

Miss Mindy's incredible Kokeshi with Edwin Ushiro's piece in the background.

And the result of all this is going to be an amazing collection of custom Kokeshi dolls by over 75 artists from 13 different countries. November 3rd can't come soon enough! The photographs do not convey the true beauty of being around these handmade pieces. I hope to see you there. Bill will be there too, so make sure you say "hello".

Thank you so much Bill!

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