Wayne Maier's home woodworking shop would bring a smile to master carpenter Norm Abram, formerly of PBS television programs "This Old House" and "The New Yankee Workshop."
In fact, Maier's friends jokingly gave him an autographed photo of Abram to hang in his shop. It's signed "To Wayne, you know everything."
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Several of those friends are members of the 160-member DuPage Woodworkers club, which meets at St. James Church in Glen Ellyn. Maier, a past president and active board member for the club, enjoys the annual toy drive, which churned out over 2500 donated, handmade toys last year.
"It's very rewarding for the club, and I think the church appreciates it too," Maier said.
Maier's shop, an addition to his Glen Ellyn home, has a well-organized surgical operating room feel, with hand and power tools strategically placed. There's an old saying, "Many hands make light work." In Maier's shop, many tools help make milling various hardwoods into fine furniture pieces, a little more relaxing.
Before beginning a project Maier, 67, might take a few days to conceptualize and plan.
"But once I start cutting wood, that's when I get involved, " he said.
Maier says that once he begins the milling process, the project takes off.
"It's important in drawer fronts or the front of any piece of furniture, to have this continuation of grain," Maier said, "If you have a series of drawers, have one piece of wood from which all the drawer fronts are cut."
His most recent project is a sideboard/hall table milled from tiger maple wood, which took close to a month to complete. The piece of wood used to construct the hall table was milled from an original size of 3 inches thick, 10 inches wide and 6 feet long. Some of the interior components were veneered and glued on a wood substrate and then vacuum-sealed. The hand-cut dove tail drawers took one week to complete.
Mayer works a few hours here and there, a relaxed schedule to finish his projects.
"Certainly not an eight hour day," he said.
Maier said he became interested in woodworking while restoring a small cottage-style house in Hinsdale over 20 years ago, before he and his wife bought their Glen Ellyn home.
He retired from Com Ed as a lineman and crew leader about 10 years ago.
"I think one of the most rewarding parts of the project, for me, is that first coat of finish, because that brings the wood alive, you really see what it's going to look like. That becomes the fun part," Maier said.