Ben Erickson

Ben Erickson

Not long after graduating from college in 1975, my wife, deLancey, and I moved from Mobile, Alabama, to the rural heart of the state to live out our back-to-the-land dream of building a log cabin by hand. For over a year I cut down trees and notched them in place, working through one of the hottest summers and coldest winters on record. We did all the work ourselves, gaining a valuable hands-on carpentry and woodworking education in the process.

Once the cabin was finished, I started a home repair business. After working on many of the antebellum homes in the area, I was bitten by the old house bug and we purchased a two-story, 1850’s house that was built of hand hewed beams using mortise and tenon timber frame construction. After taking the house apart board by board, we moved it to another lot and reassembled it, a process that should have qualified me for a degree in engineering.

Before long I developed a common side effect of “old house syndrome” an involuntary compulsion to buy tools. As my shop grew, I began devoting more and more time to woodworking, making everything from fine furniture and cabinets to custom millwork for other old houses in the area.

I soon began writing articles on my projects for woodworking magazines, as well as contributing to a number of books on the subject. This interest in writing culminated in my novel A Parting Gift, which was published by Warner Books in 2000. After living for 20 years in the house we had built, my wife and I returned to the Mobile area in 2002 and currently reside across the bay in Fairhope, Alabama.