Erik Florip's Enduring Legacy: Reflecting on Community and Craftsmanship in Detox No.5

I shed a few private tears for a man I didn't know, yet who intersects in so many ways with the values I cherish and live by.

Erik Florip's Enduring Legacy: Reflecting on Community and Craftsmanship in Detox  No.5
The Wooden Rose

I've been hesitant to write my Detox series No.5 this past week, partly because I've been deeply involved in other projects, arguably more important than my blog. However, if I let that interfere, I might not continue to make progress on this personal goal and effort. Last week, Frank Strazza shared the news of Erik Florip's passing after a battle with brain cancer. This story, for me, encapsulates what the woodworking community is all about.

It also reflects the four topics I usually like to write about: Family, Craftsmanship, Entrepreneurship, and Culture.

I'm new to the woodworking community in the USA, but I believe that communities nowadays have no boundaries or frontiers, thanks to the core advantages of social media and an online presence.

I didn't know Erik, but his story stopped me in my tracks, partly because cancer has been a recurring theme around me. He was a marine, a father, a husband, and a true craftsman. He clearly made an impact on the USA woodworking community, and I suspect that after his passing, his legacy will have even greater influence. Let me say this clearly: no one will likely be more impacted by his legacy, regardless of his craftsmanship skills, than his own family, who will always remember the true person behind the name. But for all of us who never met him and are now aware of his work, we'll probably be drawn to either know more or aspire to own one of his handcrafted saws one day.

I shed a few private tears for a man I didn't know, yet who intersected in many ways with the values I cherish and live by. The way you live out your values can have a real impact on other people's lives, so choose good values, stand by them, and live them out – others are watching.

I guess this is a different format than the last four editions, but I think it is well worth it to think about the life and legacy of others. A few things impacted me about Erik's life and work:

  1. The obvious impact he had on the skilled craftsmen and woodworking community in the USA.
  2. The family that supported him during his brain cancer battle. I saw a picture of a grilled gator taken to him while in bed! How cool is that kind of friend and family support?
  3. The relentless entrepreneurial spirit, making an impact and leaving a legacy of quality over quantity.

Why am I so impacted by the community support? Well, I mean, you should have a slight desire to impact those around you positively. And if the work of your life has impacted others in a way that they recognize you as having left a lasting, honorable legacy, it is worth taking time to ponder.

I know this one won't connect with non-craft-oriented people, but in whatever you do, I encourage you to connect with others making an impact in YOUR community.

For me, I wish I had known him, as I prefer to know people rather than their work. Nothing beats relationships, but you can't always have it both ways. That's just the way life goes.

Here are some of the posts I found about Erik that brought me to write this short piece. Also, if you are a craftsman and want to get one of his saws, I know there will be an auction soon with some of his latest works.

I just want to offer my deepest condolences to the family of Erik Florip @templeleigh . It’s so sad to hear of his Erik’s passing. @floriptoolworks made some of the finest handsaws which I’ve used often to cut hundred of dovetails. I always suggested for students to buy his saws because they were among the best. Please go over to his wife’s page and read what @templeleigh wrote about his passing. It’s very powerful. .

Erik, you will be missed by many and there is a hole in the woodworking world with your passing. But you will forever live on and I will always think of you every time I wrap my hands around one of your saws.

Erik was so kind to send me this fine curly walnut handled saw, among others which I’ve always kept in my tool curio cabinet with my fine tools. Please consider giving something to the family’s go fund me, the link is in @templeleigh bio. By strazzafurniture
Grief is hard to navigate. This last 24 hours, I navigated my grief over the loss of @floriptoolworks by engraving one of his saws. I’m fortunate to have been real life friends with someone so many people had as an Instagram friend whom they never met. Erik passed early yesterday morning. 12.31.23.

When I first met Erik, he instantly felt like family to me. The afternoon before he passed, I was able to be with him and his family. The moment so deeply sad was also so incredibly beautiful as he was surrounded by so much love. You want to be there for your friends in all important life moments, but you never think you’ll be there as end of their moments on earth are near. One of our mutual friends said in that moment, that Erik how to find good people.

Erik showed me love regularly. He extended a brotherly love and cared about me even in the midst of his own unexpected battle with brain cancer. His love extended to me being loved by his family and his friends. What a gift to give a friend.

I’m going to miss the smack talk. I’m going to miss the memes that were specifically designed for some very obscure inside joke. I’m going to miss hearing about what crazy idea he’s got. I’ll miss hearing, “Hey, Bud.” I’m going to miss the text during a storm that says, “This is gross,” and our mutual lament that would follow of how much we love Michigan and still despise snow. I’ll miss accidentally wearing matching plaids. I’ll miss irreverent sarcasm mixed into the deepest and most serious of conversations.

Erik’s legacy will continue to live on in many ways, he accomplished much in his time…the time that he somehow was always aware was ticking. By jbowerengraving

As far as I know, this is the guy to follow if you decide you will want to go and get one of Erick's final saws.

The Wooden Rose

Goodbye and until the next one!


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