Toys and more

Woodworkers pitch in to help Tallgrass Creek neighbors with holiday projects

Created date

October 29th, 2019
Alan Oehrle adds an adjustable shelf to an end table he made in Tallgrass Creek’s woodshop. In addition to their own projects, Alan and his fellow woodworkers frequently assist their neighbors with individual projects and repairs.

Alan Oehrle adds an adjustable shelf to an end table he made in Tallgrass Creek’s woodshop. In addition to their own projects, Alan and his fellow woodworkers frequently assist their neighbors with individual projects and repairs. 

With the holidays right around the corner, Tallgrass Creek’s woodshop frequently resembles Santa’s workshop. 

Along with their normal projects, several residents build doll cradles and colorful children’s stools for a local nonprofit agency that provides toys for low-income families during the holidays. 

Tallgrass Creek quilters pitch in by making quilts and mini-mattresses for the small cradles, which all contain baby dolls donated by community members.  

“We’ve been making toys for this group for more than ten years,” says Hugh McCreery. “They always ask for them.” 

Woodworkers are on track to make and donate about 60 miniature wooden toys before Thanksgiving.  

Well-stocked shop 

The woodshop is located on the terrace level in Bluebird Crossing, one of Tallgrass Creek’s residence buildings, and includes individual tool and work areas. Resident Dick Knapp coordinates the group which meets on the second Tuesday of each month to catch up and review projects. 

Dick is known for his beautifully crafted wooden ink pens which he shapes, smoothes, and polishes using one of the shop’s two lathes. He is currently making small aromatherapy vials, which hold scented oil, for all the women in his family.      

“When I’m in the shop working, the world goes away,” says Dick.” It’s a peaceful time.” 

The woodshop is stocked with many tools donated by residents when they moved to Tallgrass Creek. Some, like Rich McCartney, have also contributed large pieces of equipment to the shop’s inventory. Rich donated a lathe, table saw, band saw, and drill press from his former home’s shop. 

“We are a very well-stocked shop,” notes Dick. “If you can’t find it here, you probably don’t need it.” 

Neighborly help

In addition to working on their own projects, Tallgrass Creek woodworkers like to help their neighbors with requests. 

“They put a cabinet together for me and built a mobile shelving unit with wheels,” says Jay Terry, who was recovering from shoulder surgery at the time. “They work well together and are fun to watch.” 

The group can build and install shelves and cabinets, repair and assemble furniture, rewire lamps, replace sockets, and contribute their time and talent to communitywide projects. 

Woodworkers built and installed sizable magazine racks in Tallgrass Creek’s library and display shelves for the Treasure Chest, the community’s resale and gift shop. The shelves span the shop’s 12-foot wall.

“The shelves are a huge help,” says Nancy McCreery, who oversees the Treasure Chest. “We can show everything we have in an organized way, which makes it easier for shoppers to shop.”  

Hugh reports that last year, woodworkers performed 202 jobs for the Tallgrass Creek community resulting in 825 hours of labor. Residents pay only for the cost of goods used in the job. 

Ron Wertz brought some of his own tools when he and his wife, Carole, moved to Tallgrass Creek a year ago. Like Dick, Ron finds working in Tallgrass Creek’s woodshop to be a peaceful experience.  

“It definitely is,” says Ron. “Anytime I feel stressed, I like to smell sawdust.” 

Comments