Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Blanchard Woodworker Scores Big at State Fair

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Blanchard Woodworker Scores Big at State Fair

Article excerpt

Co-workers before his retirement were responsible for the beginning of what is fast growing into nearly a full-time retirement business for Darrel Smith of Blanchard.

State Fair of Oklahoma visitors are emphasizing the popularity of his handicrafts from a home woodwork shop.

Smith has nothing available for immediate sale, but is keeping his pen hot taking orders for the products of that business under shade trees outside the Made in Oklahoma Building.

"I'm booked up right now until somewhere around July 1," Smith said.

Those bookings have come from the approval by fair visitors of the samples of his handcrafted picnic and patio furniture displayed under those shade trees.

Smith said he had received about 200 orders only midway through the run of the State Fair of Oklahoma.

One of the attractions to Smith's patio furniture is its construction of western Oklahoma-grown solid red cedar and another variety of western cedar lumber. Another is the designs he has developed.

His most popular item is a round table he designed and builds with attached seats for eight people, he said.

It also is the most expensive item he has on display at $265, and the most time-consuming to build.

"It is selling two-to-one over the regular long tables," he said. "I can build two long tables a day or one round one a day.

"The first ones didn't go that fast, but I have got patterns laid out so it goes faster now. I don't pick up the tape measure much anymore."

Smith said he is not trying see how many tables he can build.

"I have got to be proud of what I am doing," he said. "I have got to feel good about what I build. If it doesn't look like something that I would really want myself, then I don't want to put it on the market.

"I figured I could build 200 a year without pushing myself too hard when I first got into this."

The growing public attraction to the handiwork from his home shop is flattering, but leaves him with some reservations about whether he really wants to be tied to a full-time retirement business, he said.

"The extra income I make from this will pay for our vacation and the extras that retirement pay doesn't cover," he said. …

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