Part 1: The music I didn’t know I wanted and the people who got it started
Welcome to the first blog post that will hopefully mirror parts of a the book I would eventually love to pen.
Making, modifying and repairing tools has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember.
Many times I’ve told a few stories of my start in the world of making but wanted to write down something more in-depth and official. Here are some of the people and experiences that shaped Lion Punch Forge.
Ira (Harry)(Still locating photo)
Harry was my great grandfather was a railroad worker. I was too young to know him as well as I would have loved to. The things I remember about Harry doing were mostly created from necessity. I remember walking into his backyard workshop and seeing the fishing knives he would create from old lumber mill saw blades and the fishing lures he would make and use, to much success.
At 17 My grandfather lied about his age to enlist in the Navy during World War 2. He served on the USS Saratoga as a gunner. Unfortunately during a very intense battle his station took a direct kamikaze hit. He was the only one of his gunner grew to survive. After the war he went on to be an experimental machinist. Growing up, I would marvel at the many things he would make and the ease of which he would also repair everyday items. Growing up in the great depression instilled a trait into his personality that led to me admiring him as a real life McGuyver.
My Great Uncle Ron was a commander in the Canadian navy during World War 2. during the war he was severely injured but went on to become a diplomat and aviation electrical engineer in the private sector. While visiting his home in Canada i would inspect all of the interesting contraptions that incorporated pulleys and levers. Ron spoke very proper english with a hint of his Scottish heritage undertones being occasionally recognized. Growing up I thought it was possible he was an actual Canadian James Bond.
My Mother and Father
Growing up on a small 1 acre farm i watched my mother and father use the things they had access to and stretch them to make things work for out family. this included learning to sew, garden, build things, basic animal husbandry (not like that you sicko), and many other homestead and necessity based construction and repair related topics.
Great Uncle Pearl
Uncle Pearl ( middle center of the photo) was a railroad worker, rancher and a veteran of the world war. As a kid I would visit his ranch in Central Oregon. His ranch came equipped with a small blacksmith shop and several old outbuildings mainly dedicated to farming tasks. My favorite memories of visiting Pearls ranch was by Aunt Callie cooking lunch in her wood fired oven. Pearl was another innovator who used his skillset to make his ranching job a little easier.
All of these people gave me a start to my love for making. There are many more that came along later during my journey and I will talk about them when we get there. However, as a kid these were some of my heroes.
The music I didn’t know I wanted.
In middle school I really wanted to play music in the band. The process was simple. All of the instruments were placed in a half circle around the band room. As students we were tasked with walking around that crescent and attempting to get noise out of the plethora of instruments played before us.
When it was my turn I gave it my all. With a desire to be good a all of the things I set my mind to I left nothing on the table. Moving from the saxophone, to flutes, past the clarinets and percussion instruments I ended on the cow bell.
After giving every instrument the playing vigor of a one man band with nothing to loose I then sat for my consultation with the band teacher.
He was a middle aged man with a grey beard. He very much reminded me of a dedicated serious conductor of extravagant orchestras. As he stroked his beard and stared at me with genuine concern and thoughtfulness in his eyes, he broke his silence after what seemed several minutes. I’m sure he had no idea that what he said next would change my life.
“Chris, have you thought about wood shop?”
A few weeks later I discovered the music I didn’t know I wanted. The sounds and smells of the wood/welding shop became a sanctuary for me in grades 6th-8th. This magical place is where I discovered the things I would eventually turn into a business over thirty years later.