Barn Wood Becomes Handcrafted Gifts

A man tells about being unemployed during the Christmas season and how he turned to his saber saw to create gifts such as a bird feeder out of old barn wood.

| Appeared in November/December 2014 issue of GRIT

  • Being short on cash during the Christmas season, a reader handcrafted a bird feeder for his sister using recycled barn wood.
    Photo by Fotolia/Vladislav Gurfinkel

The year was 1966, and I found myself without a steady job. I was very low on funds as the Christmas season quickly approached, and I was at a loss as to what I would do about gifts.

Although the real reason for Christmas has nothing to do with gift-giving, and while I knew my family wouldn’t care if I didn’t get anyone a gift, I wanted to be part of our family’s gift exchange.

Remembering that I had torn down a barn earlier in the year for lumber, an idea popped into my head. I would use what talents I had working with a handheld circular saw, a saber saw, and some wood chisels, and I would create gifts out of this barn wood.

For my nieces, I made Christmas tree ornaments. For my brothers-in-law and my nephews, I made hat racks, creating one in the shape of a horseshoe for the nephew who loved horses. For one of my sisters, I crafted a bird feeder in the shape of a barn. For another sister, I crafted a small water pump with a watering trough and hitching post mounted on a piece of board. And for my mother, I made an ornate shelf for her to display some of her plate collection on.

It might have been the greatest Christmas ever. Everyone told me they were the best gifts that they had ever received, and it was truly a wonderful blessing to my heart. Sometimes God moves in mysterious ways.

Mauston, Wisconsin

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