What do you do?
Darwin Landers

Where do you work and what is your title?
       I am the owner of a home-based business, Handi Craftsman, a furniture repair and refinishing business.
What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       Chair-caning and rush fiber, funiture refinishing (stripping, sanding, staining and putting on a varnish sealer) and repairs.
How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
       I started doing the furniture refinishing around 1996. I'm self taught. In 1996 I was diagnosed with CML and I took a lot of chemo at the Penrose Hospital, while there I met a man that was working on chair caning while he was waiting for his treatment. It looked interesting and I thought I'd like to learn how to do that. In 2004, I enrolled in a chair-caning class at the Hancock Senior Center and what started out as a hobby is now part of my business.
What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
       Being able to do the work. It's a good way to pass the time and make a little money. I like working with my hands and meeting people.
If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       There are two types of chair-caning, each involving seven steps. If I had the choice, I would like to have more hand-caning, where I weave it myself, than the manufactured kind, which comes pre-made from the manufacturer and I weave it into the groove that is provided.
What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       I'm a retired meat-cutter. I grew up in Utah and when I was in high school I started out in the slaugherhouse. I eventually worked in a grocery store and learned how to cut meat. The furniture-refinishing was something I learned on my own after I retired.
What makes working on the Westside special?
       Being on the Westside. It's really neat. There are parts of the east side of town that I haven't been to and don't care to.

“What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer. If you know someone who has an interesting job on the Westside (but doesn’t live here), he/she might be a candidate for this column! If you know someone who might qualify, give us a call at 471-6776.