Steve Bonny

I was born and brought up in England and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to live in Singapore for a few years during my teens.   I went to university in England (mechanical engineering) and then worked for Lucas for a few years before emigrating to the USA.   I currently work at John Deere developing diesel engines.   I met my wife at school in Singapore and we currently have 2 teenage kids a bunch of dogs and cats and a couple of goldfish creating a fairly chaotic household.   My son is at college studying girls…. I think….. with maybe a minor in engineering, we often work on car projects together.  My daughter is in high school.   She is fairly creative and we have attended a few art classes together.   We discuss art and woodworking projects and she has inspired a few of my projects and helped with a number of them when I get stuck.   I built my workshop with the help of a friend.   It is about 850 sq ft, heated, air-conditioned and I also installed humidity control when I was building guitars a couple of years ago.

I have always enjoyed cutting up pieces of wood and gluing them back together.   I used to make model airplanes as a kid as well as various other wood projects.   When I move to the US in 1995, I started building small sail boats, a cedar strip canoe and a small fishing boat.   I couldn’t find any photos of my boats other than a hull turnover escapade below – a fun project in itself.

I found that boats took too much time and wanted smaller projects for quicker results.  I bought a small Delta lathe in 2009 as an experiment and enjoyed turning bowls.   I wanted to make larger vases and actually got into segmenting as an easy way to make a larger vessel shape without having to hollow out half a tree.   I stumbled across Malcolm Tibbett’s book one day which was key to developing a successful start.

I often see pictures of people’s workshops that are immaculately tidy and spotlessly clean.   I have no idea how they do it.  It would take a month’s work at least to make my shop look even close.    Depicted below is an honest view of my workshop.   I like to hang things up on the floor and drop tools wherever I last used them.   There is a broom in my shop somewhere but I haven’t used it in a while.   I usually have at least 1 car in my shop and occasionally squish up my woodshop to squeeze in 2 cars.   I usually have at least 3 projects running at the same time……..  I’m just plane untidy I guess!   There are tools and fixtures for working on cars and motorcycles as well as household and yard work all mixed in with woodworking equipment.

I took a break from segmenting a couple of years ago and made some stringed instruments.   This was a very rewarding endeavor with a lot of learning.   I learned to use hand tools a lot more effectively and learned a lot about the properties of wood.   Guitar builders are also very fussy about details and finish so I significantly improved my finishing methods.   My daughter taught me to play the guitar but I’m not naturally talented in that area.   She plays the guitar pictured below regularly.   It actually sounds significantly better than her production guitar.  It was designed by Stewmac so credit to them.

Some of my favorite segmented projects are shown below.   I don’t sell any of my work.  I give any that I can away to unsuspecting friends and relatives.   More recently I discovered that I enjoy making treasure boxes for Beads of Courage.   It’s pretty rewarding and an easy way to find a home for projects.   The excited thank you notes are payment enough for me.  My inspiration usually comes from trying to figure out how to make something new so I’m usually trying new ideas rather than perfecting one skill.   Well that’s enough about me.  Oh I nearly forgot, I would like to retire soon so I can spend more time in the shop and do a little sailing, but there is that cash thing………. if anyone is willing to sponsor me………..


2 Responses to “Steve Bonny”

  1. Pekka Svinhufvud says:

    Thanks for sharing, very interesting guy you are!

  2. Robin Costelle says:

    Wonderful story, Steve. First off-you need to retire-you are much too talented to actually work. Second-your shop IS clean and tidy-trust me.
    Boats, guitars, segmenting, that thing with the broken peghead- Wow!

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August 2020
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