By Wendy Nugent, Newton Now
NORTH NEWTON—Bill Tumbleson noticed someone was using a scroll saw that one of the Kidron Bethel Village residents donated in the woodworking shop, not by what he made, but by the clues he left, which were scraps of wood in a large bin after cutting something out.
Tumbleson said one of the residents donated the scroll saw because he said he didn’t want to work with it anymore.
One day, Tumbleson, who volunteers in the woodworking area at Kidron, found out who was using the scroll saw. It was the man who had donated it.
“His first thing he said was, ‘You’re not supposed to be here today,’” Tumbleson said. “I think I caught him by surprise.”
Tumbleson’s official hours to oversee the woodworking shop are 1-4 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, although he said he’ll pop in when he feels like it, as well.
“I’m not locked into any schedule, but those are the official times,” said Tumbleson, adding the man decided to use the shop that’s stocked with various kinds of machinery and tools. One advantage is the shop is climate controlled. “Which is really nice. I have a shop at my place. When it gets cold, it’s not heated. There are advantages [to going to the Kidron shop].”
Tumbleson, whose wife Janie also is a volunteer in the shop, wanted to make a few changes when he started volunteering there.
“We [want] to make this a safe environment; we want to make it enticing and enjoyable,” Tumbleson said, adding that when he first started, there was one person using it and that the shop has been at Kidron as long as Kidron has been open.
He also wanted to get more people using it and now there are four. Tumbleson said the first person he met there was artist John Gaeddert, who used to create things there.
“We’ve got some new people doing some things,” Tumbleson said. “The largest thing I’ve seen made in here is a Murphy bed.”
He said a resident built the bed and installed it in his and his wife’s independent living home on campus. The wife is a quilter and uses the bed as a quilting design board, when it’s not being used for company as a bed.
The shop is for volunteers and the residents. Tumbleson said most of the tools in the shop were donated by residents and that Kidron purchased a table saw and the big filter on the dust collector.
“It’s a nice assortment of tools,” he said, adding his goals were to make the shop available and to get people using it.
One way he tells folks about it is by keeping the shop door open to the outside when he’s there, so folks will pop their heads inside and ask what the shop is.
“Sometimes I’m the only guy here and that’s alright,” he said.
One thing they looked at was safety. He said people said they weren’t using the shop at one point because of the wood dust. One day, Janie asked Tumbleson what was on the wall.
“Without looking, I said, ‘Paint,’” Tumbleson said, going over to the wall, using a brush to get the wood dust off a wall. “That’s one thing we wanted to address—the dust collection system. That was a big problem. So now we have a dust collection system. We spent a fair amount of time getting a better dust collector in here.”
They have. The system collects the dust as people work on projects.
Those projects wouldn’t be possible without the tools. Tumbleson said he belongs to the Sunflower Woodworker Guild and one member from Wichita wanted to visit the shop and then decided to donate a router table. Tumbleson joined a woodworking guild in 2007 and was introduced to people who knew how to do woodworking.
Even though Tumbleson has some regular hours, the shop is open 24/7 for residents who are issued keys.
Janie likes to make ornaments from Christmas cards, mounting old card fronts to wood she cuts out, and she’s made ornaments for 30 years.
“She never used a scroll saw before,” Tumbleson said.
The shop allows people to do things and create.
“This is just another resource for them,” he said.
One of those people is another local artist, who makes his own picture frames. Tumbleson said the man had someone else make frames for his art, but then he received the bill. Now, he makes his own.
Like the guild member who donated a piece of equipment, Tumbleson said the shop gets others involved, like Mike Ross, another volunteer who’s a novice woodworker.
“This gives him instant access to a shop,” Tumbleson said, since the man doesn’t have his own shop and came in and started learning.
“Again, show usage,” Tumbleson said, adding that man made two rocking horses for his grandchildren.
“They started fighting over who was going to get which horse,” Janie said.
Tumbleson has been involved with woodworking much of his life. As a youngster, he grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota and did some maintenance kinds of woodworking. In 2003, his first wife gave him six woodworking magazines and said he could get a subscription to only one because when he retired, he’d be impossible to live with if he didn’t have a hobby.
“And that was my introduction to woodworking,” Tumbleson said.
Fourth of July
Tumbleson and possibly some resident woodworkers plan to have a booth at Kidron’s 15th annual Fireworks Extravaganza on July 4. They plan to do demonstrations and also assist people in creating their own piece they could take home with them that day.
“Bill is a great example that here at Kidron Bethel Village there are so many ways to volunteer,” said Morgan Redding with Kidron Bethel. “No matter what someone’s interest is, we can connect them to a way to serve.”