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Joy in Woodworking

Glenn Daniels sees wood he finds as future one-of-a-kind pieces of art

As many artists can confirm, inspiration and passion are awakened early in life. With Glenn Daniels, it began with his grandfather who felt happiest when he was building. His father was also a woodworker. Now, in retirement, it is fulfilling his own life.

“My grandfather was a fairly gruff person unless you were interested in building things,” he smiles. “I can remember when I was around eight years old, I tried to build a chair out of spare wood from his workshop. It was one ugly, rickety piece of work. But my grandfather kept it sitting in the corner of his shop until he died, never breaking it down because I had built it. I still have some of the wonderful pieces he created such as a miniature grandfather clock with a pocket watch in it and a toy monkey. I also have some of the pieces my dad made including a folding table, a jewelry box and a waddling penguin toy he made for my first daughter's birth. I copied the design from the penguin for one of my first projects.”

Originally from California, he attended a small college in Iowa where he met his wife, an Iowa girl. He taught four years at a very small school in Iowa, Scranton, where he was the entire science facility. He also coached everything from baseball and basketball to track.

He continued teaching in Iowa for 15 years before moving to Kansas to teach a year at Shawnee Mission South High School, then joined Olathe East where he coached cross country and track, and taught Physics, as well as classes in Chemistry, Astronomy and Student Naturalist for 21 years before retiring last year. 

“I really enjoy making things from either recycled wood or branches I find on my walks or in forests. One of the things I have been building currently are what I call ‘craft beer bottle openers’ from branches. I have also made bird houses from 60-year-old cedar fencing. I have made quite a few charcuterie boards from black walnut I get from a local man who mills his own lumber,” he continues. “I enjoy finding weird pieces of wood and figuring out something I can turn them into.”

Daniels works either in his garage or driveway with his own tools, some he has had over 25 years. He has recently added to his collection, and when he sells some of his pieces, he will keep himself in wood and tools. 

He is continuing his love of track meets and filling his time starting meets in both middle and high schools, and he and his wife work as field event officials at college meets.

So far this spring, he has started playing in several softball leagues, and plans to get back out on the golf course. 

“I always attempt a garden every year, but I do not have a green thumb,” he muses. “I know retirement can be hard on some people, but I'm finding the key is staying busy by doing the things I like. So far, I am finding this retirement is a nice gig.”

     His venture is called “Making Sawdust,” and he is working on a website. For more information and to see his work, email him at Be sure to watch for him at local craft shows.