Frank began working with wood in junior high school in 1947 in Statesville, North Carolina, under the direction of Mr. T. G. Hamilton of Maybank, Texas. He studied under Mr. Hamilton until he graduated high school in 1951 (with the exception of one school year). Mr. Hamilton was an industrial arts teacher who could do almost anything. He taught Frank mechanical drafting, the proper use of shop equipment, fine woodworking, wood turning, and how to create classic keepsakes.
Mr. Hamilton was a master wood artisan and an exacting teacher. In his classes, it was done right or it was done over - as many times as it took to do it right. There are times, even now, when Frank can sense Mr. Hamilton "looking" over his shoulder. More than once he has come out of the shop muttering "I wish that old man would stay dead!" But, thanks to Mr. Hamilton's style of teaching and Frank's talent, Frank has, for more than 60 years, built many pieces of fine furniture and turned many excellent bowls, plates, bedposts, table legs, and other items too numerous to mention.
Frank retired as a district sales manager from Kewaunee Scientific Corporation at the end of 1996, after 41 and 1/2 years. In 1998, he volunteered his services to the Arts and Heritage Museum in Statesville, NC. His volunteer work there, for about 3 and 1/2 years ran the gamut from repairing museum pieces and building antique reproduction furniture to everything imaginable at the Heritage Farmstead. He terminated his services in 2002.
In 2005, at the age of 12, Cody Medlin became Frank's apprentice. Cody is home schooled and part of his curriculum is shop one day a week. As with Frank, Cody has natural talent in the areas of woodworking and wood turning, and he has progressed to an advanced level. He, too, is becoming a classic wood artisan.
In 2007, Frank and Cody began volunteering their services at the Wilkes County Heritage Museum in Wilkesboro, NC. They have made antique reproduction furniture and other items for the Robert Cleveland Log Cabin, which dates to 1779.
Frank stays quite busy building fine furniture and turning bowls and other objects of classic wood art. To see special works of his, please visit the showrooms. To view his Woodworking Masterpiece please visit Showroom 2. For items available for purchase, please visit the classic galleries.
To see more about the Robert Cleveland Log Cabin and some of the furniture Frank and Cody have built for the Wilkes Heritage Museum, in Wilkes County, NC, just click the link below to go to Apprentice 3. The Wilkes Heritage Museum site includes the jail where Tom Dula ("Tom Dooley") was held. (One of Frank's ancestors was once held there, too, but that is another story. He was not a classic wood artisan, but he was a good blacksmith.)