Gene Heimerman of Perry credits his children for his woodworking ability.
“I just started puttering around with wood, making Christmas presents, birthday presents, that kind of thing. I had a wood stove then,” he says with a grin. “That’s where my mistakes went. Now I have a fire pit.”
Toys were the first items he made for his children, Eric and Jessi, now both grown and living in the area.
“I tried to make them something for Christmas every year,” Heimerman says.
He remembers one Christmas when he was working on a dollhouse for Jessi in the basement. She ended up going downstairs before he knew it. His wife, Sue, told him later.
“I asked her if she saw anything down there, and she said no. I asked her if she was sure, and she said yes. I asked her again, and she said, ‘Well, I did see my dollhouse,’ ” he remembers.
Heimerman had not only made Jessi a dollhouse but all the furniture to go into it as well, from chairs and tables to beds, a high chair, a cradle and a crib.
The various saws and woodworking equipment that fill his two-bay garage have accumulated over the years as his expertise and desire to make new pieces grow.
“I gradually started buying equipment. I started with a table saw,” Heimerman says.
Now he has a band saw, scroll saw and about every kind of saw he can find.
He describes his first pieces of woodworking as crude compared to what he does today. Now he makes intricate checkered cutting boards, doll high chairs, an eagle, an angel and even a time-out chair for his grandchildren with a clock and a drawer to hold books.
Usually he uses patterns for projects he wants to do. One particularly intricate piece is an eagle he made for Eric when he became an Eagle Scout. The piece required a method of woodworking, called intarsia, which gives it a more dimensional look, like sculpting.
Heimerman says he enjoys woodworking because he likes seeing what the wood can become and gains satisfaction when he sees his final product.
“I can’t really say what the favorite piece I’ve ever made is,” he says. “I may not have made it yet. That’s for retirement. Who knows, maybe by the time I retire, I’ll know how to use all these tools.”
Contact Darren Tromblay at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”