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Building something exceptional

Lantern Hill opens woodshop with guidance from two veteran woodworkers

Created date

June 14th, 2018
Peter Hansen (left) and Dave Marr teamed up to outfit the new woodshop at Lantern Hill with machines and tools.

Peter Hansen (left) and Dave Marr teamed up to outfit the new woodshop at Lantern Hill with machines and tools.

The comforting scent of wood shavings. The humming buzz of a table saw. The quiet solitude of concentration in the air. There’s just something about a woodshop that makes you feel at ease. 

That special something is what sealed the deal for Peter Hansen to move to Lantern Hill, the Erickson Living community in New Providence, N.J.

Ultimate workshop

“When I was looking at the literature, I was thrilled to see they would have a workshop because, as part of my downsizing, I got rid of the house where I had my workshop and where I spend seven months of the year,” says Peter, who heads south for the winter to his house in Florida.

He and Lantern Hill neighbor Dave Marr have teamed up with Director of Facilities David Hultman to turn the designated woodshop area into a dream workshop for the entire community to use.

Peter and Dave, an engineer, started by visiting other Erickson Living communities—Cedar Crest in Pequannock Township, and Seabrook in Monmouth County, N.J. They talked with both communities’ woodshop members and “got a good understanding of what’s available and how things work,” Peter says. “We came back and discussed the tools we’d like to have.”

Their main goal when considering tools and equipment has been safety. “Our tool selection would indicate that we were looking for things people our age can easily handle,” he explains. For example, they opted for battery-operated hand tools because they are much lighter than those that plug in to an outlet.

Aside from building the space, Lantern Hill financed the tools and equipment. “You couldn’t ask for anything more than what they’re supplying us for the larger tools,” Peter says. “It’s a very complete shop.”

Optimistic and excited

In early spring, Peter and Dave hosted a series of meetings to introduce the new space to community members, to gauge interest, and to officially kick off the woodshop group.

Several community members have expressed interest, both men and women. “It’s not just a good old boys’ club. It’s open to everyone,” he says.

While the group is in its infancy, Peter has a vision. “We’ll fix furniture, like a squeaky chair or a loose joint, and work for donation. Hopefully there will be enough people interested that we can have classes,” he says. “We might make toys at Christmastime for donation.”

Peter and Dave aim for the group to be financially self-supporting and hope to donate 10% to 15% of any profits to the Resident Care Fund.

“I’m very excited and optimistic,” Peter says.

Personally, Peter enjoys making bowls and lazy Susans, tool boxes, treasure boxes, and jewelry boxes. He opts for black walnut—though it’s “like iron” and difficult to work with—for the finished product is magnificent.

To garner interest in the woodshop, earlier this year Peter displayed several items he made in grammar school in display cases at Lantern Hill.

“When I was a child, my father’s philosophy was you never paid for something you could do yourself, so I learned by watching and helping,” Peter recalls.

He says he and Dave make a great team to chair the woodshop group, one of many budding activities at the vibrant community. “He’s so precise about everything; he’s a true engineer,” Peter says.

Visit Lantern Hill to see the newly opened woodshop for yourself and learn more about joining the Lantern Hill community. To schedule a tour, call 1-800-989-4951.