Retirees share love of woodworking


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Posted Online: Dec. 03, 2012, 5:59 pm
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STERLING, Ill. (AP) Lloyd Beckman and Tom Boerjan have much in common.

Both are retirees with extra time on their hands. Both have the ability to take a simple piece of wood and transform it into something beautiful.

Beckman, 68, of Sterling, and Boerjan, 59, of Rock Falls, were introduced by a mutual friend and became friends themselves through their shared passion for woodworking.

Beckman was a member of the Quad Cities Woodturners Club, which Boerjan later joined. The two now share tips and insights on their craft.

Both say using a lathe to make wooden bowls, platters, vases and other household items is therapeutic.

Beckman began dabbling in the art form 12 years ago, when he retired from Northwestern Steel & Wire Co. He made a dining room table and chair, but it took a long time, so he started using a lathe to make smaller creations. He since has made a large circular serving platter, serving bowls and vases.

The work takes hours of patience and careful carving. It took Beckman 20 to 25 hours to make the wooden platter, for instance.

'Then you get down to the finish, you put all the work in it, and the finish is what everybody sees and that's really the hardest part,' he said.

Also among his handiwork are tiny wooden wine glasses with a ring around each stem, meant for a bride and a groom.

It also took Beckman 25 hours to make a small, intricately carved wooden Christmas tree ornament.

He gets most of his wood to make the platters and bowls locally.

'When I first started turning, I thought, where am I going to find wood?' Beckman said. 'Now I got so much wood I don't know what to do with it.'

His pieces are on display in galleries in Kewanee and the Quad Cities, and at The Next Picture Show in Dixon.

His woodworking hobby keeps him in the shop and 'out of his wife's hair,' Beckman joked.

Boerjan always has had a flair for the arts. The retired Rock Falls High School teacher taught industrial arts, math and computers for more than 30 years.

'I was looking for a hobby related to woods,' he said. 'I put up a shop in the back of my yard, didn't really know what I was going to do out of it.'

He got his own lathe in February, and began turning small items. He continues to try to improve his skills, he said.

Boerjan makes colorful serving bowls and vases. His bowls are defined by a colorful center row, called a feature ring, which is created by taking small pieces of wood and attaching them to form a ring, then attaching the rings to create a vase or a bowl.

'Lloyd's been great as far as a mentor and someone sharing his experience with me,' Boerjan said.

Woodworking gives Boerjan a sense of pride and accomplishment, he said.

'I call it sawdust therapy,' Beckman added. 'Just to go out there and make chips, it's fun and it's also challenging, and then you end up hopefully with a piece if you don't blow it up.'














 




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  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.






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