Treasures on Display

The Great Oak Bookcase, also called The Display Case, and now known as The Showcase Gallery, was fortunate to have three craftsmen in woodworking join a recent display.

Jim Yarbrough has the longest history as a craftsman. He began as a teenager, moving from a Car Guy to wood.  He was a planning director for the city and county and had only weekends back then, but now he spends several daytime hours working, along with his friends, at the campus shop.   His favorite wood is maple and he crafts bowls, pens, and letter openers from “found wood” at Salemtowne or from a supplier of hardwood lumber in Mayodan.  His work is also seen in other places, including the art show and sale for Meals on Wheels at Senior Services.

Jim Wilson, as a project engineer for Georgia Pacific (formerly Holly Hill Lumber Co.), developed a unique van capable of utilizing engineered lumber and he demonstrated the van throughout Europe. He only began as a woodworker himself once he moved to Salemtowne two years ago.   His handsome French rolling pin, shown here, uses his favorite woods: walnut, cherry, oak and maple. It took about three hours to turn the pin at the campus Wood Working Shop located in the basement of Bahnson Hall.

Dave Jones still has his first wood craft, a plate he made in 9th grade! Now he spends two or three days at the shop a week.  All workers complement each other and Dave says Jim Yarbrough has been a good teacher, particularly in how to turn the pieces. He likes to work in walnut or in ambrosia maple reflected in his bowl shown in the photograph. The shown goblet in spalted maple was meant to be “something else,” but when that didn’t work, as Dave joked, “I have the goblet.”

The Victorian Great Oak Bookcase has its own history.  Originally, it was in the office of the first executive director, the late Rev. Harvey Johnson, before being moved to the hallway adjacent to the Vogler Shop.  The case is American- made circa 1885, and its ownership can be traced through four generations through oral tradition.

Article written by Resident Perry Craven.

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