Arriving at this point has not been easy; the long journey was hard. My woodshop experience began in the basement of our Norton, Virginia home when barely tall enough to unlatch the door of Dad’s shop. It was full of saws, drills, wrenches, hammers, nails, and wood; I was full of ideas: Boy Scout projects, gifts for my favorite teacher, and later, cool sound and lighting equipment for my rock band “The Washington Furnace.” A decade later, college equipped me with a degree in Special Education and I began teaching handicapped children, or better stated, they began teaching me. Our curriculum included a complete woodshop where we marketed small crafts to the public. Later, I partnered a cabinet shop in town anticipating the day of my very own shingle.
The late ‘70’s recession unexpectedly afforded me just that wish: when perfectly sane folks were going under, I was going in …way over my head! Logan Creek Designs began in a 14’ x 22’ dirt floor, no door, no heat, no lights garage on our newly purchased 5-acre mini-farm on Logan Creek. The initial lesson was to learn the magic that transforms wood into a house payment. Since that summer our shop has been challenged by a wonderful assortment of commissions: upscale cabinetry, historical reproduction millwork and liturgical furnishings. In 1984 we opened “The Hardwood Lumber Store,” taught woodworking classes and later added a crew for design/build of home additions.
1990 brought war to Logan Creek in more ways than one as we secured a defense contract supporting our Marines in the Persian Gulf. We furnished close tolerance medical shelter items that were deployed and thankfully, not needed. Our specialized laminate skills led to commissions in the medical market and more custom cabinetry for office and home.
Now, here is where you come in.
Allow Brad Lidford from the Kingsport Times-News to pick up the story:
“After 20 years of making a living and carving out a solid reputation as a cabinetmaker that people could count on to deliver, Cress was moved to this point after a midday stop at the VMI Museum. If (he) had arrived an hour later he might have missed this fork in the road. VMI usually stations a cadet inside the Museum to greet visitors and explained his request to the (person) on duty. I said ‘I’m a cabinetmaker and a big fan of Jackson and I’d really like to take some photos and make a copy of that desk for my own personal use. I didn’t know that the “cadet” was the Director of the Museum. It just so happened that the cadet who was supposed to be on duty had called in sick and he was just filling in.’
The Museum director Colonel Keith E. Gibson goes on to say ‘we would not have been interested in pursuing the replication of the desk with just any furniture manufacturer. Joe’s interest in the piece and its history, and his obvious skill in the craft encouraged us to do this. Stonewall Jackson was a good Presbyterian and he believed in Presbyterian predestination. In a sort of Stonewall Jackson sort of way, perhaps Joe was sent to us.’”
Could it be in similar fashion that you were sent to Logan Creek?