During the 50’s and 60’s, George French was one of those kids who was always playing with the scraps in the woodbin in his father’s basement shop. When he was 10, his parents gave him an electric drill and an electric jigsaw for Christmas, and he began the process of learning to work with wood.
Years later, in 1971, George graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but his job search ended a year later with a starting carpenter position with a residential homebuilder. He perfected his carpentry craft for 10 years and taught himself fine woodworking and cabinet making. In 1982, he started his own cabinet shop in Baltimore, MD. George’s company became one of the best commercial cabinet shops in the Baltimore-Washington area and was named “Best Commercial Cabinet Shop in North America” by Cabinetmaker Magazine in 1996. After 32 years George retired and sold his business to a long-time employee.
After retiring George went back to woodworking in his basement shop and began to explore the art of woodturning. Woodturning is the process of mounting a piece of wood on a lathe and then turning the wood while using chisels to shape and hollow the piece. George joined the American Association of Woodturners and their local chapter, Chesapeake Woodturners, and later became the newsletter editor for the club. In 2018, Chesapeake Woodturners’ newsletter, “The Final Cut”, was recognized as the 3rd best chapter newsletter out of 360 chapters worldwide.
George enjoys the moment in woodworking when you finally get to see the true luster of the wood you’re working with; when all the sanding scratches and tool marks have been removed and only the fine detail of the grain is visible. That “true luster” point can take weeks or months to reach with woodworking, but woodturning can reach that point in a matter of days. So, George began to concentrate on woodturning only.
He likes to work with woods that have the best visual qualities; the best grain, the nicest color and the boldest figure. George likes to turn green wood that he finds locally, and he also likes working with exotic woods from the local dealers. George gets his inspiration for new pieces from the woodturning symposiums he attends and from the many images he sees around him.
George has received several awards in local art shows sponsored by the Maryland Federation of Art (MFA) and was recently given a Juror’s Choice award from the MFA for one of his wood turned animal horns.
George works out of his home studio in Catonsville, MD and can be found turning new pieces almost every day.