Don Tevault

I am a retired mechanical engineer having worked 26 years at the Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge. I started woodworking at a young age when my grandmother, as way of keeping my brother and me occupied, would get out hammer, saw, and nails and we would build something. My father and grandfather were both carpenter/cabinet makers and I had the good fortune of working with them a bit. So, I guess it’s in my blood, I have made rudimentary furniture for our home since Ginger and I were married and then various pieces for our daughters and friends and now pieces for grandchildren. In recent years I have developed more interest in smaller pieces emphasizing the beauty and unique characteristics of native woods.

Several years ago I became interested in whittling, when, on a fluke camping trip someone brought a pickup load of basswood to be burned in the campfire. I knew enough about whittling to know this was a most grave and shameful act. I managed to get some of the basswood in my truck and within a few days I had whittled my first ball-in-cage. This is what I call “hobo art”, i.e., wooden chain, mechanical joints, ball-in-cage, etc. Along the way I became aware of 2 local native sons. I read about Alex Stewart and met Bill Henry. They have been serious influences on my whittling pastime.