Tim Sway is a Connecticut-based artist who works exclusively with reclaimed and sustainable materials.
After a 15+ year career as a recording and performing musician, Tim “retired” from music to make tangible art and wares from reclaimed and sustainable materials - to “Make Worthless Things Priceless.”
But making trendy, barn wood coffee tables and wall art was too static. His journey brought him back to music as he now (mostly) makes custom guitars and basses from “trash” and eco-ethical materials.
“Guitars are the perfect outlet for my work. I can turn trash into art that lives on to make more art in the hands of musicians. This is truly a net-positive trajectory,” says Tim Sway.
Tim continues to develop inventive and eco-conscious approaches to guitar making and the business surrounding it, including building a solar-powered micro-store and stage in the back of a step van and developing other music-related products in ethical and environmental ways.
He shares his journey at YouTube.com/TimSway and www.NewPerspectivesMusic.com
How did you get into woodworking?
As a young musician, I was always hacking at and modifying the instruments I played in pursuit of my sound and style. I was never satisfied with the instruments as they came “off the shelf.” This led to me learning how to use tools to eventually build my own.
What inspires your creations?
The materials are often the first inspiration. As an upcyclist, I thrive in the creative solutions found out of limitations. So instead of finding salvaged materials to fit my idea, I frequently need to make my idea fit the salvaged materials on hand.
What made you decide to add power carving to your repertoire?
Since I approach woodworking from the side of art (music) vs trade/craft,I fell in love powercarving very quickly in my journey. It is a fast and efficient way to make shapes that are not straight - a big part of my work. Before making guitars I honed my skills on logs and tree stumps making relatively simple, totem-like faces.
What is your favorite power carving tool and why?
I really like the smaller carving tools and chisels for what they can do but I honestly lack the practice time required to develop good skills with them. The TURBOPlane, however, is a great easy way to add fast relieves and 3D shapes to my guitar by hand instead of on my computer-driven cutter. This gets used frequently.
What impact has power carving had on your art/passion/livelihood?
So many woodworking tools are about straight lines and the ones that aren’t are about 2-dimensional curved lines. Getting free of those constraints in the process helps free my mind.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking of getting into power carving?
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