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A Visit to a Blind Woodworker’s Workshop

John Furniss shares how he came to be a woodworker despite being sight-impaired.


Hi Guideposts. My name is John Furniss, also known as The Blind Woodsman. I am a 100% blind woodworker and I live in southwest Washington state. I was not born blind, I became blind at 16. I had been dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety and I had attempted suicide. Though it took my sight and sense of smell, it left my mind and the rest of me completely intact. I adapted so quickly and so well, I really think I’m supposed to be blind. I learned woodworking when I was about 24 at a school for the blind, and I thought they were kind of crazy but I’m glad they had that woodshop, because I found the thing I do in life better than anything else. I absolutely love woodworking. I was having a hard time getting a job and I had heard about a piano school for the blind, up here in southwestern Washington state. And so I decided to give it a try, because working on pianos is mainly fine-tuned woodwork and that is where I met my wonderful wife. She was a volunteer, painting a piano for a fundraiser, and it just so happened to be in the same room that I was working on a different piano. So we got to know each other and we went on a date to my garden and picked peas in my pea patch and got married, sat right there in the garden three years later.  

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