Some woodworkers know that they need to follow their own instinct. Creative forces inside push them to buck any trend in woodworking and blaze their own trail. Dion Lee Valencia is just one of those people.
Trained as an architect and graduating from the University of Miami in 1997, Dion immediately started working in an architectural firm and was put on a South Beach penthouse project. This project was full of detail and involved “tons of pages of drawings that the owner would never see,” said Dion. This was the proving ground for Dion, and as he grew professionally, he started to build scale models of detail fixtures and other items for the penthouse project.
At the end of the 5-year project, he pursued an architectural license and TWO master’s degrees and spent some time as an instructor teaching hand drafting at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. After moving back to his native Miami, he gained his architectural license in 2005 and opened his own practice.
His small shop contained tools to allow him to build some things that he knows well: furniture. As he and his wife planned a family, his love of creating form and building started to merge. After his son was born and while his wife worked, Dion built samples and models, sometimes with his young son accompanying him in meetings and in the office instead of daycare.
As the architecture jobs started to dry up in 2009, Dion felt he had to do something to support his family. “I decided to put my full energy into creating a line of furniture pieces.” he said.
These prototypes were all done by hand and are Dion’s original designs from years of experience creating pieces for others. “I would perform market research by showing friends and associates some of my work. They would say ‘Cool’ and ‘How did you do that?’ That was all I needed to get my business going and do this full time.”
Dion’s work includes pieces featured on high end showrooms around the Miami area, and they are now on showcase to a larger audience. Even Hollywood is taking notice of Dion’s work, which will be featured in upcoming high-profile charity events, design publications, newspapers and blogs around the world!
Dion’s shop includes some of Laguna Tools’ top selling products. “Once I had the budget for the high-end equipment and compared it to Laguna, there were so many options for the money that I went and bought all of what I needed at one time.”
“I always had a list of items to build my shop, and Laguna was always written on the side of my list.”
Dion’s shop includes the LT14 SUV Bandsaw, which, according to Dion, “is just so comfortable with the powerful 1/2-inch blade that is so consistent with no bog or lag!” Many of the forms you see in these images are a result of the bandsaw in action. His shop also includes the 10″ Platinum Table saw that allows Dion to cut precise pieces with little rejection and accuracy. “The blade is the best,” he said.
For smaller joining and hardware details, he uses both Laguna’s Platinum Series Radial Drill Press and 17″ Variable Speed Drill Press.
Laguna Tools wishes Dion the best, and we really enjoy his work and attitude toward working. His creativity and work is the future of woodworking – it changes every notion of what is traditional in wood working today!
- LT14 SUV Bandsaw
- Platinum Series Drill Press
- Platinum Series Tablesaw Left-tilt w/T-Square Fence
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