John, the in-house craftsman makes blanket chests and miniaturized boats used as bookshelves or shelves for knick-knacks, which vary in size, color, and price. Heís been creating the chests for a few years but has only been working on the boat shelves for the last couple months. This would not be apparent to the average shopper, the craftsmanship is impeccable and by the amount heís done (about 25 to 30, heís created the same amount of chests) in such little time you get the feeling the man doesnít have time for anything else. Actually, itís mainly done on the weekends-itís his alone time, an escape from everyday stresses, and Jon Q. Public. Since the finished products are growing in popularity, heís had the opportunity to combine his hobby and a way to make a living.
The creative process begins in northern Minnesota saw mills where he scouts for the appropriate rough sawn lumber, which, as a part of the process has to sit for six months to a year before it is ready. Then he has to plane it to the desired thickness, sand the pieces, then assemble them with nails or screws, but itís the finishing that takes up more time, more sanding, staining, varnishing or painting. The boat bookshelves have backs made up of individual slats, but the chests are, overall, more time consuming. John says, ďitís something I liked to do all my life.Ē Working with wood for him was just a hobby until about three years ago when he started to get into the retail end of it.
His wife and partner, Nancy, also creates a few craft items, such as birdís nests, some primitive woodcraft wall hangings, and dried floral arrangements, but she says her time is so limited that she canít do as much as she likes. They also do picket fence shelves, chests for doll clothes, and shelves with grooves to display plates.
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