Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Maloof Inspired Rocker Russian Style

Thomas Friedman's book "The World is Flat" describes the world's new reality. The computer and the Internet have made it possible for people to connect via virtual bridges of interest anywhere on the globe.

Woodworkers of the world unite! Before my Maloof Inspired Rocker bundle became available with the DVD through Highland Woodworking, I sold a small booklet and the full-size patterns on my website http://www.charlesbrockchairmaker.com/. Each morning I would open my email and see if I had any new purchases from my PayPal account. There had been many sales to Canada and even Sweden, but one morning as I wiped my eyes I saw a name written in Russian. Vladimir Parfenov eagerly agreed to pay the cost of the extra shipping to get the package to Moscow, Russia. To me this was very special!

I was a middle school student during the Cold War. We lived in fear of nuclear Holocaust. Neighbors built fall-out shelters and we practiced getting under our desks at school in case of a blast. This was kind of funny to me because the desktop was wood and I figured would only accelerate our destruction. The Cuban Missile Crisis worsened our fears to the point that twelve or thirteen year old boys were talking about "the end" rather than girls and Mickey Mantle.

Now I am sixty years old and I have connected with Vladimir in Russia and he anxiously wants to build my rocker. He told me he was a beginning carpenter and was very motivated to achieve. His emails are either translated through software or he speaks and writes some English. On the fourth of July, he emailed me saying" Happy Independence Day!" This was a great moment for me. I learned that the world (as Thomas Friedman said) is virtually flat. People can connect and unite to build those bridges through common interest threads like woodworking. Vladimir and myself are probably more alike than different. How alike I may never know.

Yesterday I received the Vladimir's pictures of his finished chair and thanked me for my help.

Read the next issue of Highland Woodworking's WoodNews eMagazine to learn of Vladimir's story. I have asked him for pictures of his shop, tools and to find out about his experiences as a woodworker. The opportunity to see how a Russian woodworker pursues their love of the art will be I hope enlightening.

I was thrilled to have my rocker patterns reach around the globe, but best of all to have an opportunity to make a friend in Russia. Woodworkers and the Internet have helped us join hands and be "Comrades" after all this time.