Meet The Maker #grampsguidance

Welcome back for the newest edition of Meet The Maker.  As this feature progresses, just like as we all do in the shop, I try and grow with each article I write and make each one better than the last.  Adding new questions for the interview, new photo perspectives, whatever I can do to showcase the incredible talent we have here in Southern Woodworkers (which hit 700 members a few days ago!). This week I was honored to interview Sam Wooddell of SamRyan Designs and the Woodshop 101 Podcast.  Sam is located in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C..  Sam has an amazing shop which she shares with her grandfather that's nearly 1500 sq. ft in the basement of her grandparents home.  Sam works during the week as a personal assistant/ house manager for a local family, which generally starts at 1:00 p.m., which allows her the mornings to work in the shop.

Sam grew up watching her grandfather build things.  He was an electrical engineer for 40 hours, but woodworking has always been a passionate hobby.  Sam loved American Girl dolls when she was younger, and her grandfather would always build dollhouses and accessories for her.  Watching him build is where the foundation for her woodworking passion began.  After high school, Sam knew she wanted to channel her creativity, she majored in Interior Design while in college, which has built a fantastic design skill set to her projects.  One day, Sam decided she wanted to build a headboard, so she went to the source of her woodworking interests (her Grandpa) and the rest is history.

Sam's been building non stop ever since that headboard, and has an incredible work ethic.  Balancing a full time job, a full time woodworking career, a flourishing social media presence, AND a weekly podcast, (plus me bothering her all week during the interview process for this article) is no easy task, and Sam executes it with ease.  Her day starts around 8AM in the shop, and she works through the morning until her personal assistant job starts at 1.  Once the day job ends, it's either back in the shop, or working on e-mails, projects, and paperwork.  "Starting your own business requires a lot of time and effort" she told me.  When not in the shop, Sam loved spending time with her family and friends.  She has a dog who she loves going on walks with and is still trying to convince him to be the shop dog.

Sam joined us at Southern Woodworkers several months ago.  She loves how friendly everyone is, always willing to answer a question.  I totally agree, it's crazy how active our group is, and how everyone always takes the time to help each other out.  The #1 thing Sam is listening to in the shop is her Grandpa's advice, and then either NPR radio (not her choice) or country music (her choice).  I always ask for who a maker finds their inspiration from, and I know it's a difficult question because everyone pulls inspiration from so many avenues.  When it really comes down to it, if she had to pick one, Sam says Jen Woodhouse really inspired her (girl power!) to become the woodworker she is today.  The one skill Sam really wants to learn is turning.  They have a lathe in the shop, and she wants to learn so she can start turning some of her own table legs, etc.  Can't wait to see her grow into a woodturner.

Below are some photos of some of Sam's favorite pieces, and then a picture of a table she is currently working on. The craftsmanship and skill involved in these builds are incredible and inspiring.  Such fine work on some highly intricate and involved projects.

Such incredible work.  You can find more from Sam on Instagram and on her page SamRyanDesigns.Com

Thanks again Sam for joining in on our Meet The Maker fun, and stay tuned next week everyone for another great maker!


“By All means read what the experts have to say. Just don’t let it get in the way of your woodworking.” - John Brown


Meet the MakerZach Manring