A longtime veteran of the construction industry and the owner of several custom homebuilding companies, Ralph Slaske has devoted his career to building homes that are truly unique and honor each client’s initial vision and design concept. As a custom homebuilder, Ralph’s engineering background serves as the perfect complement to his previous experience working in the construction industry.

While Ralph is able to express himself creatively through his professional work, the Northwest Ohio resident has always found woodworking to be a wonderfully relaxing recreational activity that has enabled him to provide friends and family with thoughtful, unique and useful gifts appropriate for just about any occasion.

What is your hobby?

I have always been particularly fond of woodworking, and I am overjoyed that I finally had the opportunity to build a workshop solely devoted to my craft.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

No matter where I went, I always seemed to notice and marvel at the intricacies of the woodwork. I found it very easy to admire the level of dedication necessary to complete such detail-oriented work.

Tell us what you love about it.

There is so much to love, but what I love most is the fact that there are simply no shortcuts to creating quality work.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

Woodworking is often presented as a solitary pursuit, but there is a wonderful community of woodworkers out there that are always more than willing to share their expertise with others. There are a few local groups I am a part of that host events and workshops on a semi-regular basis.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

The list is far too lengthy to detail with any sort of brevity, so lets just say that I have a workshop filled with tools and materials that represent a sizable investment in my passion for woodworking.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

I have found that some of the best tools were made years and years ago, so I am always searching high and low for older tools. The wood I use comes from all over, including everything from the lumberyard to architectural salvage and, at times, even the side of the road.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I like “The Essential Woodworker,” by Robert Wearing, but Tom Carpenter’s book (“The Complete Book of Woodworking”) is also a solid option.

How has this changed your life?

I was never great at buying gifts for all of the wonderful people in my life, so woodworking has allowed me to create something thoughtful that properly reflects how I feel about my loved ones.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

There is no way to cut corners in this hobby, so make a real commitment to the craft and take it seriously right from the start.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

While woodworking does take up a lot of my time, I have also been trying my hand at the metallurgic arts.