As the son of a furniture maker and sculptor, I have been in contact with the joy of woodworking and the beauty of wood already from a very young age. For my seventh birthday, my father gave me a small workbench and some kid's tools, so I could try for myself what I saw him doing. I still remember the smell of wood shavings he carried, when I sat on his lap in the evening when he came home from work, or how I enjoyed standing next to his workbench and watching him carving wood. It's a sweet memory, and I guess it was experiences like these that planted the seeds of what was to become an enjoyable hobby and passion of mine.
Although I eventually chose a different direction for my career - I obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology and now work at a biotech pharmaceutical company - the love for working with wood has never left me. Much of my spare time goes to designing and creating new projects, trying new techniques, searching for some beautiful or special woods for a next project, or simply enjoying what others have made and trying to learn from that.
Over the years, I have collected a range of hand tools and machinery, and I have transformed part of our two-car garage into a workshop. It's not ideal, but when the cars are out, the 6 x 8 m space is sufficiently large to work comfortably, even on larger pieces. My main equipment is a combination machine (table saw, jointer, thicknesser, shaper and mortiser), a 3400 mm band saw and an old Myford lathe, next to a range of hand tools and smaller power tools (circular saw, plunge router, orbital and belt sander, drill, Festool Domino joiner,...). Among the hand tools, I've had a lot of pleasure using Japanese pull-stroke saws, and the tool I favour most is the bronze Lie Nielsen N°4 bench plane I bought some time ago - expensive, but a joy to work with.
Wooden cedar-strip boats built by the strip-planking technique
Dutch woodworking forum (in Dutch :-) )
Woodworking magazine and great site with many tips and nice projects
American woodworking forum
James Krenov was a great woodworker and author of some of the most inspiring woodworking books ever written.
Check out John Lee's site. He's an Irish woodworker, and designed some of the most striking and beautiful pieces I've seen. At the verge of art and fine furniture.
Lumberyard near Kortrijk (Belgium), they have a separate department fo rare and special wood species, and a wide range of veneers and are very helpful with advice and tips.