Feature: Woodworking art satisfies retiree's love for building new things

| October 2008

The Lion and Lamb

ARTISTIC WOODWORK: Bob Pike, of Pavilion, N.Y., shows off one of his popular intarsia items, The Lion and Lamb.

Bob Pike always wanted to build something big, so it made sense that he spent most of his work life in construction. But after retiring, he felt the desire to build something new. That something would come in the form of artistic woodworking projects that bring joy to both the 80-year-old craftsman and to those he loves.

Finding inspiration 

When he retired in 1990, Pike found no shortage of things to do. Living with his wife, Pearl, on their two acres of country in Pavilion, N.Y., they gardened, went camping, and spent time with their four children and several grandchildren. Still, Pike longed to build something new.

Then one day he was looking­ through a woodworking magazine and discovered the art of intarsia, a method of decorating a surface with inlaid patterns of wood mo­saic. Pike ordered his first pattern in October 1991, and since then has crafted hundreds of items in his basement.

Because Pike had worked in construction, his wife was used to him being gone for long stretches. Now, with his newfound hobby, he began spending six hours or more per day in his basement workshop.

The daily cacophony of sanders, saws and dust collectors fills the house as Pike works. His wife is tolerant of the inconvenience and proud of her husband’s projects. She enjoys showing off his work at art shows. Friends and family receive gift pieces on special occasions.

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