A lifetime of working with tools and teaching others to do the same has followed Dan Benitz of Jefferson into his retirement.
Benitz retired the end of last school year from teaching industrial technology in the Jefferson-Scranton Community School District. He taught welding and machinery, sheet metal and foundry.
In retirement, his interests range from woodworking and old woodworking tools to playing an accordion and just about anything else that tickles his fancy.
“I enjoy old woodworking tools, planes, levels, any old tools really,” Benitz says. “I admire the old craftsman who used the tools I collect. They had to figure out how to get something done, and they did it.”
It’s not unusual to find two or three planes or other old tools left at his door by people who know he collects them.
“I sharpen them up and use them. I can do some work more quickly with a plane than setting up my router,” he says.
Benitz opened two doors on a wall-mounted wooden cabinet inside his large garage/shop. Old woodworking tools cover every available space inside the cabinet. Hand saws line the walls above the cabinet and further down the room.
He likes using the old equipment when he makes furniture. He’s made a complete bedroom outfit, computer desks and the furniture for computer labs for school districts.
“I made some board room furniture as well for a couple who are agronomists who have to meet with people from Pioneer frequently,” Benitz says. He made the table from old barn board, using posts from the barn for the legs.
He’s also made rocking chairs, end tables, jewelry boxes and quilt racks.
In addition, Benitz likes to turn wood on a lathe to make chair legs, bed posts and bowls.
“I don’t make as many bowls as I used to. I was going to farmers’ markets with bowls I made, but you just can’t sell them for what you have into them,” he says.