Volume 13, Issue 4 - July-August 2011

Avocations
life beyond the auto glass business

Just a Tool Guy
Dale Malcolm, Dow Automotive Systems

Dale Malcolm of Dow Automotive Systems’ aftermarket division is an industry legend. Aside from his busy schedule as technical services manager for Dow, he also heads up the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) Council Inc.’s education committee. He is the guy to whom many turn when they have technical questions, especially those dealing with contamination or corrosion in an installation. So you wouldn’t think he’d have time to install all new windows in his home, remodel his kitchen from scratch, build furniture or participate in any of the other endless projects he’s taken on.

While Malcolm’s proud wife, Karen, will describe him as a woodworker extraordinaire, he is modest about his skills. “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘there’s a fine line between being a true woodworker and being someone who just collects tools,’” he jokes.

However, Malcolm certainly keeps busy with the tools he’s collected. “I’ve been fixing things, building things, working with stuff like that for as long as I can remember,” says Malcolm. “I grew up in a house full of tools.”
And he’s taught himself most of what he’s learned to build and do. “My wife always asks me how I learn to do certain things, but for me it’s that I’m too stupid to know what I can’t do, and once I get halfway into a project I’m too stubborn to quit,” says Malcolm.

Much of Malcolm’s spare time currently is spent on home remodeling projects, but his ultimate goal is to delve fully into making craftsman-type furniture. “I’ve built a couple of nightstands,” he says, “but I’d love to build a whole living room set.”

“There’s a fine line between being a true woodworker and being someone who just collects tools.”
—Dale Malcolm, Dow Automotive Systems

His favorite wood to work with is white oak, which he says “really fits with the craftsman style of furniture.”

Though humble, Malcolm is most proud of the fact that he completely remodeled his kitchen in the winter of 1999-2000. “I gutted it and re-built it all,” he says. “We ripped out everything and took it back to the walls.”

And, with his extensive industry background, it’s no surprise that Malcolm looks at everything with a technical eye—for example, with his current window replacement project. “The windows were originally installed incorrectly, so I’m trying to fix what they did wrong,” he says. “The window openings were too big for the windows, and we’ve had leakage around them—once I started replacing them it became pretty evident what was wrong.”

Other goals include remodeling his living room. “I want to do a whole section of raised panels around our fireplace and install a coffered ceiling,” says Malcolm.

But one day he does hope to finish his endless list. “I look forward to the day when there are no more household projects,” jokes Malcolm.

Until then, though, his tool collection will continue to grow. “You’ve got to have all the tools before you retire,” he says.

 


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