I am originally from Wilmington, Massachusetts. At the age of three my family moved to Vermont and I was raised on a farm. I attended Cambridge schools and graduated from Cambridge High School (the last class before Lamoille Union High School opened as the Vocational Technical Center) Our shop classes during high school were called Industrial Arts and Mechanical Drawing, with a little welding applications thrown in. I did a limited amount of turning during that time period.
I went into the family business right out of high school, (Blaisdell’s Safety Equipment started by my father). Jodi and I were married in June of 1983. At that time, we purchased the barricade portion of the business and ran it for 22 years before closing it down. Uncle Sam’s changes in federal regulations made it impossible to continue. At this point I went from being self-employed to becoming a member of the general workforce.
I have 2 daughters, 5 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren, 2 stepsons, 3 step grandchildren and 1 step great granddaughter. We share our home with Tiki – a cheetah/Bengal cat, Tigger – yellow tiger cat and his brother Bandit – yellow and white tiger cat, Izzi – a beagle and Maverick – a Maltipoo who keeps us laughing. Thank goodness we live on 14+ acres in the country.
My life experiences include: 20 plus years in the volunteer fire service (15 years as Assistant Chief), 35 plus years of volunteer coaching and officiating of local basketball programs.
In 1995 our home, located at that time on the Lamoille River in Cambridge, was flooded out and we moved the house a mile and a half to where it sits now on North Cambridge Road. Quite a story in itself.
I have been a Selectboard member, a pest control technician, a school bus coordinator and driver, fuel delivery driver and Road Foreman for the towns of Fletcher and Cambridge and dump truck driver.
I officially retired as Road Foreman on September 1, 2017 – no more out of bed at 2 am to call in the crew to deal with snow, ice, downed trees that our Vermont winters provide.
Even though I retired, I decided to hold onto my Commercial Driver’s License and all the endorsements. So, I drive part time school bus duty, fill in for a fuel distribution dealer, and part-time summer duty for a contractor with multiple tri axle dump trucks delivering Quarry materials to sites in Northwestern Vermont.
I enjoy basketball, deer hunting, both rifle and muzzle loading. I’m a life time member of the NRA.
About five years ago my brother who lives in Albany, NY, called and offered the contents of his workshop. He wanted his garage back for his vehicles. In his inventory of tools was an Oldie but Goodie Delta 4 speed lathe. I got it set up in my shop and began to play around with it. The last time I had worked a lathe was my senior year in high school. My first turned items were bowls and I was hooked. I started getting atta-boys and compliments – enough to tell me I might be able to get better at this. Five and a half years later I have turned over 360 bowls.
While at a local craft fair I was I was informed of the local chapter of Woodchuck Turners of Northern Vermont. My wife and I became members and met a group of very talented wood turners. The organization provides training and mentoring to all.
We have given many of the finished products to relatives, friends, fund raising donations, and exchanged for burls and blank materials received. Jodi and I are amazed at how much raw material is given to us after you put feelers out as to what you are looking for. I have collected quite an inventory of Vermont species over the past five years. My favorite species to work with are Black Walnut, Black Cherry, Yellow Birch, and Maple. Spalted and burls. But then again, I like Apple also!
After a couple of years of using the old Delta lathe, I realized I needed to upgrade. I purchased a Laguna 18/36 that was very lightly used. Since then I have upgraded many accessories and have many additions to my wish list.
I hope you enjoy our creations as much as we enjoy creating them.
Brad and Jodi