James Jackson has built large stadiums, contributed to his family's logging business, and spent years evolving his cabinet and woodworking styles. His years spent in the forest made him knowledgeable and gave him an appreciation for the different types of wood; his favorite to work with being Red Oak. His advice, "Take your time and do the best you can."
James started working for the center in March 2020. His family history is entangled with the logging industry and the forest. James grew up helping his father in the woods, logging, and transporting lumber. He and his father worked to harvest logs the old fashioned way–with ponies! They mainly harvested pulpwood, used to make paper, among other varieties. He recalls working with the ponies and their intellect; knowing precisely the path through the forest to the truck and then, when directed to turn around, complying and walking back to collect another log. They would load the poles on the truck bed in layers up to four stacks high. He grew up with stories from the old-timers about the logging industry and fondly reminisce on the funny ones he can still remember.
James tells the story of his father having to take over for a truck driver that had stopped in the road, terrified to drive his haul of lumber down a steep hill. His father at 12 years old, with full allowance from the law, drove the truck and navigated it down the hill to safety. With his grandfather and father working in the logging industry and sawmills, it is needless to say his connection to his career was passed through the generations. James worked for a cabinet workshop from 1987 to 2001 in Greenbrier county West Virginia. During that job, he built nurse stations for hospitals and locker rooms for big sports stadiums such as Marlins Park, of the Florida Marlins, and Bank of America stadium where the Carolina Panthers call home.
After years in the industry, James returned to the family logging company and bought out his father's share. He ran the business alongside his brother for 14 years. The business is now owned by James's grandson, Thomas Logging, formerly known as Jackson Logging.
James enjoys all aspects of woodworking. He prefers certain wood varieties to others. His favorite wood to work with is red oak as it is a simple wood to work with and looks beautiful with either a clear finish or a stain. Since working with the center, James has evolved his cabinet making style from European to contemporary and classical styles. The access to particular tools and machines, including the CNC machine, helps with efficiency and accuracy.
James is an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoys being in the woods. He and his friends spend some evenings catfishing and have even held competitions at the pond. As the family grows, James now has grandchildren and great-grandchildren and enjoys resting on time off at home.
James’s advice he offers to anyone getting started with woodworking is,
"Take your time! Do the best you can. Protect your hearing and your eyes because you cannot take back the damage. Do not be afraid to ask questions and reach out for help."