Jim Puterbaugh creates his world

When Fine Woodworking has a photo shoot in the Pacific NW, I sometimes get the call, saving them a few beans on airfare. That means I get to visit the shop of another dedicated woodworker. Visiting shops was one of the best things about my years at FWW, for a bunch of reasons, and Jim Puterbaugh checks every box and then some.

I visited Jim to shoot an article about how he likes to keep all of his tools out in the open, instead of behind closed doors in impressive cabinets. I was a little nervous as always to spend a day with a stranger, and like almost always, we weren’t strangers long.

Just like so many Fine Woodworking readers, Jim is a super-inquisitive guy. He knows a lot about old trucks, bread making, woodworking, home renovations, plants, old bicycles, and being a doctor (his day job). And he is thoughtful about all of it. That makes him fun to hang out with.

We blew past the small talk to get into how he motivates people to lose weight (no cookie cutter solution, so to speak), why he likes the wide toe box on Keen shoes, and what I really need to do to treat my allergies (short-term steroids and long term nasal spray).

And as you’ll see in the pictures below, Jim has created his world, just like Sam Maloof, George Nakashima, and all my woodworking heroes. He watches less TV than me, and builds a lot more. It is f—ing inspiring.

And he is generous as hell. He lives just a few miles form me in Southwest Portland, and already he has had my whole family over for pizza from his brick oven. I’ll be heading over soon to learn to make bread (that’s always been on my short list, and I rather learn it with J. Puterbaugh than U. Tube).

The point? Create your world. You can do it. And make friends with woodworkers. Most of them are awesome human beings.

Jim’s shop is amazing.
He built this Seussian treehouse for his grandkids! What?!
He keeps bees, many, many bees, and produces 150 lbs. of honey a year! What?!
Jim built this gazebo, where he and his wife spend the twilight hour with a drink each night. So he is a ladies man also.
Jim made this end-grain block for bread making.
And he has a brick oven in his house!
Windows are another place to create.
Almost all of the woodwork in the house is Jim’s.
Kitchen cabinets and cutting boards too.
And he is a FWW reader, who builds projects from the magazine. Love this guy.



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