the builder

David Lehman


How it all began

Once a five year old boy found a sack of nails and a hammer on the porch, and tried to pound one into the recently cut tree stump. The green wood, firmly rooted, with grain lined up vertically, helped to make it easy enough. By the end of the day, the boy pounded more than a hundred nails into the stump.

When the father came home and looked at the random shiny dot pattern, what he communicated did more to praise the effort, than to punish the loss of nails. I don’t think I ever properly thanked you, Dad, for the inspirational start to a lifetime of woodworking.

Also, thanks to my Mom, who sometimes sent me on errands to the Burger Dairy Store, which was a dangerous two blocks away across US 33 in Dunlap, Indiana. Next door was the Golden Nugget Hobby Shop, where I would look longingly in the window. Around age 10, my parents let me take my savings of $1.40 to buy some balsa wood pieces and I started making my own models.


In the many years since, I moved on to making all things wood: carved wall plaques, kitchen items,  and furniture, which fill the home where my wife Jan and I live.  It is never louder, more crowded, or more joyful than when our four children, their spouses, and 12 grandchildren come home.

In the imperfect way it comes, I accept living a journey of faith, and enjoying the adventure.  This led eventually to fulfilling a life-long dream of building a boat, which was finished in 2017.  A renewed focus on furniture grew in the last few years, including some custom commissions.  Examples of portfolio are shown below.  

In the last couple of years, I began dabbling again with my boat design program, and wondering about the daunting task of another boat.   One day, the journey of that proverbial 1000 miles began with the the first step of action.  This is in no small part due to the inspiration of thousands of you who followed the first boat process, from over 120 countries of the world.

Thanks to you for continuing along on this journey.


Here’s some of my work…. see blog for more information.

2 thoughts on “the builder

  1. David. It was a pleasure meeting you and your lovely wife at the excellence resort. I’m Josh Wood the photographer that you spoke with. I just looked up this blog and can’t wait to read through more of it. Just FYI I don’t keep my website up to date because I contractually don’t shoot for anyone but the agency that I work for. Although, I’d love to show you some of what I do if you’re interested in seeing what I craft. Anyway, am always happy to give you advice on how best to shoot photos of your furniture projects if needed.

    From one travel to the next, cheers my friend.


    • Josh, thanks for making contact. I am inspired by all kinds of creativity, and would love to see som of your photography. Also, I am wanting to feature other experts in my blog posts, in a similar way to the recent post on Jeff Margush. Would you be willing to provide a short description of the important keys to good photography, with some examples illustrating those principles?

      Otherwise, I would be happy to see some of your photos, either if you have a site I can look at, or by email. Mine is


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