Ron Sawatzke of Boyd isn't in a hurry to get his woodworking projects done.
Sawatzke worked for McLaughlin and Schulz and would find himself with nothing to do during the winters. So he decided to try his hand at woodworking. About 15 to 20 years ago, Sawatzke said he saw a wooden semi truck on a bar in Odessa that caught his interest.
"It was sitting on the shelf," Sawatzke said. He said he went to take a closer look at the wooden semi and the bar owner told Sawatzke he could take it home.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Ron Sawatzke of Boyd recently showed his wooden toys that he created for Hobby Month at True Value in Marshall.
He said that he doesn’t necessarily work steadily at a project, but he keeps busy.
Sawatzke developed his own version of that semi, making the back into a cribbage board. He used golf tees as the lights. For all of the other toys he's created throughout the years, Sawatzke has used a pattern.
"I got a shop hooked up to the house," Sawatzke said. That way he can just go through the garage to work on his toys.
His shop has several tools for his woodworking, which includes a band saw and a table saw.
"I think I'm on my third table saw," he said. He said his shop is heated in the winter and has air conditioning in the summer.
Last week, Sawatzke brought his wooden toys, which includes a skidloader, a fire truck, a combine, a dump truck and a Caterpillar bulldozer, out to True Value in Marshall for Hobby Month. It was one of the first times he's had his work on public display.
"That took me a year," Sawatzke said about the Caterpillar. He mainly uses oak to create his wooden toys.
Sawatzke doesn't necessarily work steadily on a piece. And sometimes he'll go out to his shop to read or watch TV.
"I just go out there when I feel like it," Sawatzke said.
Sawatzke said he will work on whatever he's comfortable with.
"I go at my own pace," he said.
Besides the toys, Sawatzke has made other items, such as jewelry chests, cedar chests and cradles.
"I made all our kitchen cabinets, that took me two years," Sawatzke said. He's also made bunk beds for his grandchildren.
One of his most complicated toys he's made to date is the bulldozer, he said.
"There's a lot of little parts to it," he said. A lot of intricate pieces, his wife, Neila, added.
Sawatzke doesn't have too many major projects in the works, except for a 5-foot long John Deere tractor decoration he plans on putting on the side of a shed. He had just finished a skidloader in the last couple of weeks.
"If I sell something, I have to make another one," he said.