About Dale Barnard, The Cabinetmaker
Dale’s life experience melds woodworking, mathematics and a love of teaching.
As a third-generation woodworker, it was inevitable that Dale and his brother would work side by side with their father from an early age. He taught skills of the trade and stories from their grandfather as he first introduced his sons to woodworking through trimming houses in the early 1960s.
Real-life Woodworking Lessons
As Dale worked under his father’s instruction in all aspects of carpentry required to build a home start to finish his love of woodworking blossomed and matured. He learned from his grandpa, through his dad’s teaching. As he learned along with his older brother, Everett his father taught him how to trim houses, hang cabinets, build staircases and many other necessary staples of carpentry by the time he was 16 years old. Being extremely competitive with his brother helped both sons become the best in their field especially in details of design.
Dale needed more complex projects in his early adulthood to feed his interest in designing and building with wood. This led him to:
- Start his own business restoring antique homes in the 1970s
- Replicate 100-year-old doors and furniture
- Develop a broad knowledge of millwork by building floors, doors, and moldings
- Replicate antique furnishings
By studying centuries-old furniture and woodworking in all forms, he saw first hand how various materials and design stand the test of time. This study taught him which types of wood are best suited for a particular piece of furniture or architectural design, as well as a keen eye for detail and construction techniques.
When you ask Dale why he builds custom furniture, he says, “It’s challenging and fun. Each piece is a unique experience and I learn something with each project. And for my family, I love knowing that one day someone will say, ‘This was made by my great-granddaddy many years ago.’ Leaving a legacy is my favorite reason to create beautiful heirlooms today.”
Making the Grade
Dale attended Indiana University, studying mathematics in the school of education planning to teach high school. But when it came down to it, he just could not leave woodworking as his main career. His education and natural propensity in mathematics help him create the perfect fit for each piece of furniture and cabinetry he makes, as well as pass it on to his woodworking students.
Dale and his wife, Mary own The Cabinetmaker Inc., Dale Barnard. Mary manages, markets and runs the office … everything but the studio/shop where Dale builds his custom cabinets and furniture, shipping it to clients all over the continental US. The Barnard Woodworking School was birthed out of Dale’s desire to teach his wealth of knowledge and experience to others. Students immediately can see how Dale nearly entered a career in teaching math and his love of passing on knowledge helping others learn is captured in each woodworking lesson he shares.
Dale creates a family of students and earnestly helps them develop their skills to build the best furniture possible.