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Woodworkers talk shop

Created date

November 24th, 2009

Carpenters are limited only by their imaginations in the Wind Crest wood shop. The members, who number close to 40, churn out dozens of projects each year and have hundreds more on their to-do lists. We ll give anything a try, says Len Hilgartner, who lives at Wind Crest and manages its wood shop. We ll try and make anything for anyone, he adds enthusiastically. To date, the group has fashioned items including birdhouses for the courtyards on campus; benches for residents patios; toys, puzzles, and toy chests for their grandchildren; and furniture for family and friends. Hilgartner, who started woodworking 25 years ago, says there s always something to be learned. You learn by making mistakes, he explains. You remember from past experiences and say, I m not doing that again. I came, I saw... While some find mental stimulation in the wood shop, others discover a sense of release. It s my therapy, Lloyd Eicher says. He s been busy crafting for over 40 years. It s never been my livelihood; I have just always enjoyed cutting up wood and making things with my hands. Playing with and learning to use all of these tools keeps me busy, and more importantly, out of my wife s hair, Eicher says with a laugh. He generally spends 10 to 15 hours a week in Wind Crest s wood shop, where he s made his own furniture, including headboards, end tables, and coffee tables. Plus, he s made countless gifts and trinkets for friends and grandchildren. It s nice to be able to make something that people can use and enjoy, Hilgartner says. I m working on making a new face for a grandfather clock that has been in a friend s family for 200 years. It s an heirloom that will hopefully continue to be passed along. It s things like that, if you can do it, that make you feel good. Honey-do list Hilgartner says that Wind Crest s Woodworking Club has a to-do list in the shop that s a mile long. It is filled with jobs that residents and employees have requested to be completed by the club s skilled members. We just finished making a bed for a grandchild going away to college, Hilgartner says. We ve fixed legs on tables and chairs, made benches we even made shelving units and carts for the caf . And soon, the community outside of Wind Crest may benefit from the wood shop members talents and generosity. In the near future, we hope to start making furniture for those in need, Hilgartner says, maybe for Habitat for Humanity.

A place to hang your saw

From lathes to sanders and circular saws, Wind Crest s wood shop has it all. I think it s one of the most complete wood shops around, says Len Hilgartner, the shop s manager. In addition to the large pieces of equipment provided by the community, several members have donated their best tools. Many of our members even the ones who have some significant experience with woodworking have come in and been impressed by the quality of the tools we have here, he says. While most visitors know how to handle the smaller tools, those new to the shop are eager to learn how to give the big ones a try. That s really what the Woodworking Club is all about. We are looking for people who want to learn. Hilgartner adds, And mastering a tool is quite different than just using it or turning it on.