Dr. Thomas’ Devotion to Woodworking

Pluriverse: Getting to Know Your Professors

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By Gbemi Abon

Religion department professor and co-chair, Dr. Samuel Thomas, is not only an expert in the origins of Judaism and Christianity in the ancient Mediterranean world, but he is also a master woodworker, crafting tables, chairs, and other unique wood creations in his very own studio, Wildbird Woodworks.

Dr. Thomas first began his woodworking journey in college. While working on his Ph.D, he took a part-time job with a local furniture maker. There he began learning the finer points of joinery, which creates the wooden components of a building, such as stairs, doors, and door and window frames. He then began designing and making his very own pieces such as tables, chairs, beds, dressers, built-ins, and other things like kitchen accessories for his house, friends, and family.

“I especially love to create tables because people gather around them for food, fun, and the deeper conversations in life, and chairs because they are complex and require considerable skill,” Dr. Thomas told Pluriverse. “I enjoy woodworking because it teaches me patience, allows me to express the intimate communication I’m having with trees and timber and grain, and invites me into a community of makers—and people who appreciate handmade things.”