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149774 michael@w... 2005‑09‑12 Bio -- Michael Winget-Hernandez
I was just reading Tom Price's unofficial orientation page (having
gotten there via Esther Heller's fascinating links) and discovered that
the bio was "expected" and so,  I offer the following.

I was born in San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 1960.  My grandfather
was a proto-galoot.  He had a little shop set up in his freestanding
garage.  Grama's house was a little house that still stands on Buena
Vista not far from Our Lady of the Lake University.  Anyway, we lived a
few blocks away, on 24th, and until we moved to El Paso in 1966, and
from time-to-time after that, when we would visit, he and I would
"work" in his little shop.  I remember that when I was about five, he
taught me to use a handsaw.  He said, "Let the saw do the work."  He
said the same thing about the hammer.  Grandad was not a craftsman.  He
was just tight.  He would buy old houses and "fix them up" himself and
rent them.  This was in his "spare time."  His business was used cars
and notary services, and that was on the side, since he had a full-time
job at Kelly AFB.  He was "thrifty," but I think that it really must
have been a kind of efficiency that translated into saving his own
energy, saving words, making do... there was all kind of saving going
on.  Anyway, he died too young, just a couple of years after I got out
of law school... probably a function of working harder and longer than
any other human I have known.  I flatter myself by comparing us -- by
trying to be a little bit like him.  I do think that my affinity for
old tools (especially for the users) came directly from him.

I read some books about woodworking while I was in high school.  I think
James Krenov, "The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking" came out when I was in the
11th grade. I remember saving up but we couldn't afford the wood, much
less the tools that fueled my imagination, and I didn't really have a
mentor that was within 500 miles.  My dad is a sweet, smart, generous
man, but probably the anti-galoot.  I got my interest in books and
reading from him.  But I've always liked tools and never been one to
shy away from learning how (often not) to use them.  So I have sanded
floors, dug French drains, tiled kitchens and bathrooms -- (even the
ceilings), snaked waste pipes and replaced toilets and even made some
clothes (using an electron-burning sewing machine, I have to admit). 
But there never seemed to be room enough, or time enough, or money
enough (wow -- that was ignorant!) to allow myself to even think back
to the thing I really wanted to do, which must have been: sharpen metal
and use it to make wood smaller.  I know that this must have been it
because doing it gives me such joy today.

I recently left Austin, where I'd worked the last 16 years as an
assistant attorney general.  I had been four years in private practice
before that, and after 20 years in Central Texas, as fun as it was, it
was time for a change.  Don't get me wrong, I got to do some exciting
once-in-a-lifetime work there.  (Van Orden was my case, for you
Establishment Clause enthusiasts.)  But we were ready to make some
alterations.

The kind of work I do now (representing states in complex matters) takes
me all over the place, so my wife and I figured we'd live someplace we
liked better, someplace with four seasons, and wood that actually grows
up out of the ground,tall, and not just at HD.  She's a Smokey Mountain
girl, and so the heat that I didn't even notice after 44 years in New
Spain was hard for her to take.  Now we have a few acres out in the
country a few miles east of Charlottesville.  We think it must be
nearly Heaven.

My wife home-schools our 16-year-old and I work, mostly on my computer
and on the phone, and at the end of the day, I like to eat a
home-cooked meal, and then make chips and shavings, and ocassionally a
little sawdust, or read about it, or all of the above.  I haven't
gotten good enough to make anything else yet, but I'm going to build
Bob & Dave's bench and see if I can make something worth taking a
picture of.  Lately my boy and I have made some smaller wood out of
bigger wood together, which is even better than I had imagined.

I still don't know how I ended up here on The Porch.  But there's a nice
breeze, even when it's warm.  Bill Taggart invited me to join RATS,
which I'll be doing this week, and meeting some galoots there on Friday
night.  I'm looking forward to it.  With any luck I'll find the vises
(here we go again) I need to make the bench.

Thanks for your hospitality.  And (I know I've said this before) your
inspiration.

Michael

Michael Winget-Hernandez
Winget-Hernandez, LLC

Post:
         466 Pine Crest Drive
         Troy, VA 22974

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