Dave began his professional woodworking in 1979 doing business as "Olson's Woodworking" in Gig Harbor, Washington. A classmate from Pacific Lutheran had expressed a desire to purchase a roll top desk, and Dave simply said, "I could do that for you!" With no formal training, and, no tools, "Olson's Woodworking" was born.
Four major power tools were purchased from the estate of a retired cabinet maker, and Dave began a summer of teaching himself the fine details of furniture design and construction as he built that first roll top. During those five years in Gig Harbor, commissions came in largely through contacts made at Agnus Dei Lutheran Church, a new congregation that Karla and Dave had joined.
During those early years, Dave was influenced in his development as a woodworker by the works of James Krenov, and especially Sam Maloof. During a workshop he attended, he was especially drawn to the organic nature of Maloof's designs and the deep spirituality and personal faith that Sam witnessed to during those presentations.
During the Gig Harbor days, roll top desks became Dave's specialty, and he constructed over ten of them. There were times when the small two bedroom house on Dorotich street had numerous roll tops filling the dining room. One of them ended up serving as the changing table for Dave and Karla's second child. (Is that why, 35 years later, that desk is still at the Olsons.)
In 1984 Dave enrolled in Luther Seminary and began preparing for the ordained ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. During the seminary years and the 25 years of full time ordained ministry, Dave continued to engage in woodworking as an avocation, working both on commissions and personal projects. His work included carved signs and liturgical pieces, kitchens, trade booths, a boat, a house, and a full range of furniture pieces for friends and family.
In 2013 Dave and his son Jens established Olsons WoodWorks in Sandpoint, ID. One of their first decisions was to purchase a Legacy Woodworking "Artisan II" computer numerically controlled router, with an integrated 15 inch by 8 foot lathe. The CNC router enables the Olsons to produce pieces with old world craftsmanship enhanced by new world know how. From traditional joinery such as dovetails and mortise and tenons, to contemporary sculpted designs, the Artisan II enables Olsons WoodWorks to produce the finest quality of craftsmanship at a reasonable cost.
One other major change from the early days of Gig Harbor, is the addition of computer aided design capabilities. Today, as opposed to simple line drawings, we are able to offer our clients full three dimensional drawings and renditions of their commissions prior to commencing work.