John loves to experiment by combining his woodworking and machine shop skills in intricate ways. He especially loves making his beautiful abalone pens. He gets his exotic woods from around the world, and local wood primarily from burls – black walnut, oak, redwood, maple, and buckeye. He enjoys the beauty of the different kinds of wood he works with, such as rosewood, purple heart, paduak, ebony, and blood wood. He inlays abalone, mother of pearl shells, elk and deer antlers, and ebony and ivory from recycled piano keys for his pens.
John crafts his boxes made out of wood and epoxy. He creates a mold, assembles the wood burl parts, and very slowly fills the mold with epoxy. When dry, he slices the lid off, designs the inside pockets by hollowing the sections out by hand with routers — the deeper, the more difficult. He then re-polishes the box, designs the outside, and attaches hidden barrel hinges so that the design of the box is emphasized. He sometimes inserts abalone, pearls, and gemstones such as garnet, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, and ice flake quartz for a sparkle on the inside.