Michael McDunn Wood Carver Woodworker Greenville SC 15 Minutes Included

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Michael McDunn began carving wood seriously in 1974. After purchasing his first wood lathe and starting wood lathe in 1975, he was soon commissioned to create displays, frames, furniture and accessories for the Country Museum in Greenville. The museum hired him in 1976, where he continued to develop his skills and love for art and finely designed furniture.

Michael then began creating custom pieces for individuals and businesses, and left the museum in 1981 to focus on his business full-time. His first love was modern furniture, but he realized that this was not in great demand at the time. Michael has always worked closely with his clients to draft and perfect his desired designs, so he quickly added his 18th century furniture to his repertoire. Innovative and unique wood uses became Michael’s specialty as clients realized his ability to meet their design needs. All of his furniture is made in his Greenville studio, and his work has been installed in many homes and businesses throughout the eastern United States and Europe.

Michael’s work has been featured in magazines such as Fine Woodworking, Woodcraft Magazine, Fine Woodworking Design Books 2 and 3, Custom Woodworking Business, Woodshop News, and At Home. He has also won numerous awards for his unique furniture designs and craftsmanship, including 2014 and his 2015 Niche Award Finalist, American Masters, 17th Annual Master Woodworking Show “Best of Show” and Advertising Co-recipient of the “Silver” Adi Award from the Federation. Greenville.

Talk Greenville: Have you always had a creative side?

Michael McDunn: Yes, I’ve been drawing and making things ever since I can remember. The first thing I remember making as a child was doll furniture I made for my girlfriend’s sister.

TG: What would you like people to know about your work?

MM: How much time and effort does it take to come up with an idea and execute it? Design, client consultation, and project execution can take anywhere from 40 to 1700 hours. Over the years, many of my clients have taken woodworking classes from me and couldn’t believe how much time and effort the projects took.

TG: What is the most important advice you would give someone who wants to learn woodworking?

MM: Be careful not to confuse work with your life. When you run your own business, it’s easy to do that. There is a balance somewhere, but it is very difficult to find.

TG: What is the most challenging part of a day in the studio?

MM: It definitely disrupts the work process. These things need to be done to make a business work, but they often cause frustration when completing projects. This includes communications such as phone calls, texts, and emails, as well as people stopping by, paperwork, tracking supplies, following up with vendors, and possibly finding new vendors, and managing your next project while working on your current project. This includes project preparation. These are all necessary parts of the process, but they can also be difficult.

TG: What is the most satisfying thing about your job?

MM: I hear back from clients, sometimes even years later, saying they love what I’ve created and they’re still happy.

TG: What would you never do again?

MM: I never collaborate with someone who wants to develop a line of furniture.

TG: What is the biggest mistake you have ever made in your work?

MM: I built a cabinet in my bedroom that doesn’t go through the door. I had to take it back to the studio, disassemble it, and reassemble it into modular sections.

TG: What is the first thing you tell someone who wants to order custom products?

MM: It may be more expensive than you think, and you probably can’t build it at the prices you find on the internet.

TG: What is your favorite thing to make?

MM: Table. Because the table is the most used item in the family and it’s a good opportunity to showcase some very nice wood.

TG: What is the most unusual piece you have ever created?

MM: I think it was a ladder made of leather, brass, and wood with hundreds of upholstery studs. We also have a closet that can be viewed on YouTube by searching for McDunn Closet, Greenville SC.

TG: How has the pandemic affected your work?

MM: It slowed down quite a bit at first, but people were stuck at home and started realizing they “needed” new furniture, so we were very lucky to not be affected for a long time.

TG: Do you have any works at home?

MM: Yes, but not enough.

TG: When did you start teaching individuals?

MM: The first year I started my business, people started asking me for lessons and I’ve been giving them ever since.

TG: How is that process different from doing the work yourself?

MM: In class, you will be interacting with more people of different skill levels. We hope that everyone’s work will be very nice, but each work will have its own unique personality that students will appreciate. Clients expect perfect work, but students who create their own work accept some flaws in their work. It’s also more of a social situation than an employee interaction.

TG: Where can we meet on Friday night?

MM: I work too often. For self-employed crafters, Fridays can be the worst day of the week if you’re not meeting a set schedule for a project.

TG: What is the best advice you have ever received?

MM: Record detailed timesheets and material costs for each project.

TG: What’s the biggest thing that’s changed in Greenville since you’ve been here?

MM: Downtown and West End development. Furniture styles were also requested. When I first started his full-time business in 1981, it was called Contemporary Wood Products. Unfortunately, if you didn’t make an 18th century replica back then, you would starve to death quickly. That has certainly changed in the last few years.

TG: What is the first thing you show people when they visit our city?

MM: Let’s talk about the Open Studio catalog and then the beautiful surrounding area of ​​Liberty Bridge and Greenville. I tell them to avoid Woodruff Road.

TG: What is your favorite restaurant?

MM: North Main Soda Shop, but I don’t really go to restaurants.

TG: What is the best thing about living upstate?

MM: Access to lakes and mountains with plenty of places to hike, fish, and hunt.



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