Tom Buhl – An Artist for All Seasons…

For those of you who don’t know Tommy, you should.

This is a guy who seems constantly “in his element” no matter where he happens to be. If you have ever attended one of Popular Woodworking’s “Woodworking in America” conferences then he is the guy running around, cameras in tote, recording as much and conversing as much as he possibly can. He then takes all the media and information he has gathered and incorporates it into a myriad of different projects.

Note that the word  “project” doesn’t involve just things made of wood. Tom has a talent for making a statement with just about anything he can get his hands on. Whether it be a camera, a computer, a fine piece of lumber, or even a simple piece of chalk….Tommy can work with just about anything and in the end leave you with your head shaking and your mouth hung open.


(Above) Tommy attempting “levitation” while working
on a James Krenov tribute in 2010

He has a wonderful talent for taking what his “mind’s eye” sees and bringing into the real world. His designs in wood emulate his demeanor. Well balanced, softened edges, inviting you to come and take a closer look.

With all of Tom’s talents, what will impress you most is his outgoing but gentle and generous personality. It brings a balance to him that makes him the kind of guy any of us would love to have as a next door neighbor.

So, scroll down and let the head shaking and jaw dropping begin…..

Mahogany Foot Stool

This little foot stool was built as a Christmas gift for Tom’s daughter. Built as a study in curves and tapers, the front and back of the stool is curved ever so slightly and the legs have a very subtle bevel and taper. Neither effect is so much that it drives your view to one particular area but adds a nice degree of connectivity to the top of the piece.


Mahogany Hall Table

This stands as one of my favorite pieces Tom has built with Greener Lumber material. It got me a sharp elbow in the side when my wife Karen saw it along with a “How come you don’t build me something like this??”. When you look at the full size pics, note how Tom mounted the top of the table to give the impression that it floats above the rest of the piece.


“Bent Log” Mahogany iMac Table

This piece was one I kinda wanted to challenge Tommy with. I had brought this board to the WIA show in 2011 and never displayed it in our booth and hoped I’d catch him making the rounds with camera in hand. Sure enough, I did and hauled him outside to my truck to show him this piece of lumber I had sawn from a bent log of Sinker Mahogany. This was not a branch flowing into the trunk. This was all trunk material. I suspect it was a wind born event maybe blowing another tree down against it or perhaps it grew up against another tree or obstruction causing the normally vertical growth to veer a bit. At any rate, no matter the cause, Tommy did a masterful job of coming up with a project by approaching it with a “minimalist” eye to enhance the uniqueness of the top.




To see more of Tommy’s talented work along with construction pics of the pieces above, check out his site:

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