Meet scholarship winner Ray O’Donnell
This Canadian woodworker is one of three awarded scholarships to Fine Woodworking Live 2018
The story of how Ray O’Donnell came to love woodworking will be a familiar one to many. He started in high school, inspired by an older brother who was skilled at the craft. Over the years, Ray brought his woodworking skills to five different homes.
“I really didn’t start serious woodworking until after I was married, and I have been improving my talents ever since,” he says. That’s 40 years of experience, both in marriage and woodworking, as Ray and his wife celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. They have three children and one grandchild.
As a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ray was posted to a number of different detachments across Canada. After 9/11, he was attached to a new initiative called the integrated Border Enforcement Team. On this team Ray, as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, worked in cooperation with the Canada Border Services Agency, the United States Customs Service, and the United States Border Patrol.
“The mission for this team was to identify, plan and intercept terrorists, terrorist groups and smugglers, including human smugglers,” Ray said. “We had an excellent working relationship with our U.S. counterparts and on a regular basis all worked in the same office. This was a first for Canada/United States Relations and proved very successful.”
Now retired, Ray is enjoying his leisure time making furniture in Magna Bay, British Columbia. One thing he misses is the woodworking shows he used to attend when he lived near the East Coast. He is hoping Fine Woodworking Live will help him learn new techniques so he can keep making furniture for years to come.