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Here's My Woodworking!

by Ron Wiling
Rogue River, OR

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

My two favorite hobbies are woodworking and gardening and now that I am retired I get to spend a lot of time enjoying them. I grow as much as 2000 pounds of vegetables for the local food bank during the summer, but during the colder seasons I retreat to my woodshop and start making garbage cans full of sawdust. My interest in woodworking started about 60 years ago in junior high where we had five Shopsmiths. Over the years I have made just about everything that goes into a house, including my shop.

I am fortunate enough to have connected with several charities here in Southern Oregon for which I use my woodworking enthusiasm. They are the Providence Festival of Trees, which raises over $500,000 for a local hospital, the Rogue Winterfest, which raises over $50,000 for needy children, and the two Humane Societies in Grants Pass and Medford that raise over $100,000 for the critters. All of this money is from the annual auctions held by each organization, which are where I donate most of my completed projects.

The ideas for my projects come from suggestions, pictures I have seen, or my own ideas. As you can see from the pictures included, they mostly have a theme. I like the challenges of being creative and at the same time minimizing the cost. Therefore, I recycle as much material as possible and am always looking for useful stuff that can be made into something that people and pets will enjoy. My old Foley-Belsaw planer that I have had for almost 40 years helps me do that. As a matter of fact, the oak I use is from a large dead oak tree I dropped and had cut into slabs. The redwood in the pictures is from the old water tower from the Wolf Creek Inn that comes to a new life with the help of the planer.

Many of the critter projects are basic items that are given to artists that embellish and fancy them up with paint, decorations, or bedding. Some of the other organizations have asked for some interesting things like the dueling pianos which were mirrored pianos into which electronic keyboards were hidden. Another project that an organization asked me to make were the large, life-sized fireplaces that were used as part of a Christmas tree display.

Future projects are yet to be determined, although I have already gotten lots of requests for the 2014 Christmas events, and I am sure they will be fun and rewarding. I just go with the flow and am pleased to help add to the success of each of the organizations that are doing great things for the people and critters of our community.

Below are a few of the sleds that I have made for the Providence Festival of Trees and the Rogue Winterfest, along with several of my other projects:

Continuing with the sled theme, I enjoy making "Critter Projects" for the local humane societies. These projects include sled-beds, kennels, and dog houses:

Several different wine displays:

Benches I made for the Valley of the Rogue State Park, which overlook the Rogue River:

Dueling pianos, which were mirrored pianos into which electronic keyboards were hidden:

A large, life-sized fireplace that is used as part of a Christmas tree display:

My critter neighbors!

Would you like to see your woodworking in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your favorite woodworking projects along with captions and a brief history of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store gift card if we show your stuff in a future issue.

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