Thursday, June 11, 2009

An Introduction

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Tim Pursell and I live in the southern suburbs of Chicago. The biggest part of my life in the past months have been creating new products in my wood shop and trying to figure out all the ins and outs of promoting my wares, both on the Net & to B&M stores. No easy task for a 59 yr. old with a a long history of building and fixing "things".

Besides that I've been very lucky to have gotten out with my best 2 fishing Buds almost every weekend for the last two months, most often on Lake Michigan, and done very well in finding the elusive Salmon!

Well that's the current stuff, now some history. I was born about ten Miles from where I sit, attended school in the Roseland area of Chicago. I did a couple years of college but drifted into a job as an auto mechanic and found my niche. 25 years with the same company & I had slowly changed my focus from fixing cars to home building, home repair and then to woodworking.

In woodworking I think I really went back to my roots. As a little kid I and my friends were always scrounging up "found" materials and building "stuff". Like forts, tree houses and push cars. I signed up at the park district wood shop for many years and learned many things from Mr. Schmidt. As a teen my Dad had an old table saw and a hand full of tools. I made myself a desk, then a workbench in the garage and after I got my first car (1957 Karmen Ghia!) some cabinets to hold my own growing set of tools.

Marriage put me in an apartment for a few years but land was purchased & on my trusty high school drafting board I designed my first house. I acted as the general contractor on that house & finally had the space and need to really start buying tools. Some woodworking, but I was still into cars and took in all types of auto repair including body & paint work.

Divorce had me leaving that house & the new place was a "Chicago Bungalow" that had a tiny tiny garage, but a big, unfinished basement. Which I promptly turned into a wood shop. About this time my sister taught me how to do stained glass & donated all the tools of that trade. I started to read up on Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley. I was totally taken by the clean, strong lines of the Arts and Crafts/ Mission/Prairie furniture and architecture.

Five years in that house and a new wife had us moving to a larger Bungalow with a larger garage! Unfortunately the garage was falling down. The house needed a lot of work too. the previous owners had painted over all the wonderful woodwork, installed drop ceilings, complete with 2x4 fluorescent lights! There was hideous orange/green SHAG carpet covering the beautiful oak floors. YUCK! The wife and I , along with help from numerous friends and relatives, stripped, sanded, re-stained & varnished all the woodwork and old shash weight windows back to their original splendor. We ripped out the drop ceilings and lighting, patched plaster & painted. I had a pro sand the floors and my sister ( the artist) helped paint a floral border around the dinning room floor that I varnished over to protect the design. It was a busy 6 months of hard work with the first half living in the old house, then a few months of ALL our belongings stuffed into the basement with just enough room to set up a bed!

The wood shop had been relocated to a portion of the basement, a long but skinny area with a too low ceiling. But it was big enough for the first 6 or 7 years. After the first flurry of restoration work we took a break from major work till after my son was born. We tackled the kitchen.
what can I say? It was totally 50's, and homeowner built to boot. The kitchen had been cut up with a crazy zig-zag traffic pattern & had two pieces of Church pews permanently mounted ( the old owners raised 8 kids in the house!) First off was switching the placement of a window and the door. No easy task in a brick house. I enlisted the help of my neighbor and godfather, Deny, a brick mason to help. Then I had to find an antique door to fit the odd opening, thank god for Salvage One in Chicago. We ripped out the confusing electric, the entire ceiling, relocated the sink back under a set of windows (more than likely the original placement). Only 1/2 the floor was hardwood as the kitchen had been added onto sometime in the past so I leveled the floor & installed Pergo flooring over the whole area. (12 years, 2 kids, one dog & a grand kid for 2 years & still looking good!) The kitchen featured a wall of original (to the house) built in oak cabinets & closets (2) so I designed and built an island, base & wall cabinets to match the originals. That was a challenge in a cramped basement shop! Start to finish it took close to a year but the end result is quite pleasing.

Well this has droned on too long already. I type v e r y s l o o o w l y but hard to shut up once I get rolling! LOL More next time. Thanks for taking your time to read this.



  1. Now... I know you have pictures. You should post some of our old house, and some before and afters of the house now! (if you don't know how I can show you!)

    I know from personal experiance the amazing things you can do. Let everyone else see it!

  2. yes post some pics of your house!...i loved the bus tales! nice to meet you!