Jim Morgans Wood Profits

Jim Morgan's Wood Profits

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A Great American Woodworker

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is stored in his late mother-in-law's barn. This stash is primarily the result of a friendship with a DNR forester, who occasionally informed Fred of fallen trees in need of removal. The stack of apricot wood in Fred's storeroom, though, came from a tree in his own back yard.

Fred is equally enamored with tools. His workspace consists of a padded stool perched in front of a massive carving easel created from the cast iron base of an oid mortician's tabie. "A tool-collector friend sold it to me for $25," Fred recalls. "He called me up out of the blue one day and announced that he had something I needed. You can crank it up or down, it tilts and it's darn solid—the best carving table I've ever seen. It has saved my back and hence, my career." Fred's work station is surrounded by tool cabinets containing hundreds of gouges, skews and chisels, all within easy reach. Sandpaper is nowhere to be found. "I can't remember using it on more than three or four pieces in the past 30 years."

Fred's shop, perched on the second floor of a reconstituted chicken shed next to his home, is filled with objects that Fred uses as both inspiration and models. He has antlers, skulls and his "Norwegian track-lighting system," an old hay mow trolley that hangs from a wooden track and carries a single candle. "My contribution to cutting-edge technology of which I am most proud," Fred claims. He has weathervane roosters, stained glass windows, Mickey Mouse Club badges, bent bugles, sections of curved choir loft railing, horse stirrups, old tools and things that defy description. Amidst all of this hangs a sign with a quote from Thomas Edison that reads "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."

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A Great American Woodworker

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