A woodworker in Southwest Washington state has an incredible imagination. His creations are a combination of his unique outlook on life and skills with power tools.
But he can’t see his creations. This woodworker is blind.
John Furniss of Washougal makes his creations from his small shop adjacent to his home.
“I have a very healthy respect shaded with a bit of fear around the table saw,” said Furniss.
“The first bowl I made, I had my finger in a place that it shouldn’t have been and I wasn’t paying attention and I got hurt pretty bad,” said Furniss. “Trail of blood like a wounded cowboy all the way to the back door.”
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Furniss found his knack after attending a woodshop class in a vocational school rehab program. He credits memory and imagination for his ability to adapt.
His blindness came after a suicide attempt at 16.
“Luckily, I only lost my sight and sense of smell. And my mind and my brain was left completely intact,” said Furniss.
He’s turned his life around and is now more happy and positive.
“I’ve chosen to laugh at life,” said Furniss. “I left the lawnmower by the back stairs one time and I did like a sideways barrel roll over the top of it. And laughing so hard because the image of me doing that goes through my mind.”
Now 40, Furniss once repaired pianos at a school for the blind. But his passion shifted after a chance encounter with a volunteer who he later married.
“Anni knew that my talents and my passion really laid with woodwork. So she bought me a lathe,” said Furniss.
You can see or buy some of his work at the Blind Woodsman website.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.