Wind Ridge Wood Crafts is run by Mike Schienle (Shen-lee) with loving inspiration from my wife, Reverend Rhonda. I have had an interest in woodworking for as long as I can remember. Some of this goes back to watching my grandfather, who was a retired owner of an auto mechanic business by the time I arrived on the scene.
Grandpa Schienle had a little shed in the back yard where he created everything from whimsical wood and beer can whirlygigs that turned and bobbed in the wind to miniature 4 cylinder engines that he hand-assembled. I was fascinated by it all and always asked to see what he was up to and how it was done whenever we visited.
My dad was a systems engineer in the aerospace and defense industry, but also very good at home DIY projects. He built or remodeled bathrooms and bedrooms in our homes, barns for our sheep, goats and chickens, lofts in the garage and decks and pergolas in the back yard. I was always there to help out and loved learning and using all the tools to put things together.
After 30+ years as a software engineer with the occasional foray into woodworking as a hobby, I slowly invested more and more time, tools, techniques and knowledge into woodworking. I now focus on craft work, such as signs, boxes and pens, and have a renewed passion for the experiences that brought me so much joy in my younger days.
Mike and Rhonda Schienle
Take a look at some of the projects Wind Ridge Wood Crafts has produced along the way. Among these projects, you'll also see some of the tools that have helped produce them. Many of these can be done by hand, and we certainly respect those that choose to work with strictly hand tools, as we use quite a few, as well. However, we're a hybrid shop, where we choose the best approach based on each step in the process, whether that's a razor-sharp smoothing plane, chisel or hand-held saw, a large bandsaw, or a computer-controlled CNC. Just know that behind every step, regardless of the tool selected, there is a craftsman's care and problem-solving skills in action.
This waving US flag over the US states is a favorite "Americana" sign. A simple tung oil finish is provided in this case. Other options are burnishing of the union (star field background) and red stripes to highlight the 3D wave in the flag.
This is our large bandsaw in action, shortly after it arrived and I put it together. There is a tuning process that is needed before using a bandsaw and proper blade selection is an important step in that process. This is just after replacing the factory installed blade with an upscale aftermarket blade. To say I was happy with the results is an understatement.
I purchased some wood from a couple and a short time later they asked to have an antique mailbox cover be made into a safe for their grandson. This was a challenging project because I assumed the cover was flat and square, when it was anything but that after decades of use and abuse. Despite that, I truly enjoyed building it and the clients were thrilled with the results.
We've made hundreds of writing instruments (aka pens) for wedding ceremonies, gifts and everyday use. Comparing a handmade writing instrument to a package of 10 pens from the office store is entertaining fodder on the various craft groups on the internet. The quality, weight, look, feel, etc. is excellent and a joy to use every time.
My wife, the lovely and talented Reverend Rhonda, performs weddings throughout the year. One of the poems that is often requested is "The Wedding Box". As part of this poem, many couples request an actual box, one of which you see here. The box is used to store vows, letters, invitations, etc. as a keepsake. It's typically made from two of walnut, cherry, maple or oak.
This project was done for our shop while creating a set of picture frames. I was chiseling the edges of the frames to allow the glass and photos to fit correctly by using a rubber mallet, which lacks the mass and impact for this type of work. About half-way through, and getting frustrated with the wrong tool for the job, I created this caver's mallet from oak. There was at least twice this much oak on the floor (and in my shirt).