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Pandemic Leads Springfield Man To Take His Woodworking Hobby To A New Level

Rick Taylor of Springfield
Jennifer Moore
Rick Taylor of Springfield
Rick Taylor of Springfield
Credit Jennifer Moore
Rick Taylor of Springfield

Our Sense of Community Series, "New Hobbies," continues with this story of a Springfield man, Rick Taylor, who has taken his woodworking hobby to a whole new level.   Listen to the feature by clicking the "Play" icon below.

Rick Taylor was in the backyard of his Springfield home, inspecting a large tree trunk that was cut and positioned on his new mobile saw. He had told me over the phone his new hobby was using his new saw to cut timber for rustic woodworking. But I was not expecting the saw to be the size of a truck.

"We finally got it in the right place," he said. "This is an eight or nine foot white pine log and we're going to cut dimensional lumber with it. It's so big, it's probably over 2000, at least 2000 pounds."

Taylor takes a brush to the bark, ridding the trunk of stray fibers. 

Taylor says he dabbled in woodworking before the pandemic, but he always had to buy the dimensional wood elsewhere. Now, friends and family just give him a call when they have a fallen tree they want to get rid of.

The quiet of the pandemic spurred him to explore this new hobby, he said.

"Well, there wasn't wasn't a whole lot else you could do," Taylor said.  "You know, so many businesses are trying to regroup to figure out how they're going to stay in business. And it's one of those things where I just felt like just gave me an opportunity here and at my own home to have something to do," Taylor said.

"Just took it to a whole new level. Now, now can produce my own needs and and I can help out other people," Taylor said.

On this day, he's putting that mobile saw to the test. He's using a new inch and a half thick blade. And this is the biggest piece of lumber he's cut so far.

"I'm going to cut one slab and it'll be the length of this. And because some people use them for tables and bar tops and stuff like that," Taylor said.

Taylor and his son fire up the saw. It begins to slice its way across the top layer of the log, skimming off the bark and wood as it goes.

For him, the most delightful part of this hobby is discovering the unique traits inside each piece of wood.

"Seeing the beauty that's there, because there's a lot of beauty in the in the wood itself and the grain of the wood. And I really enjoy seeing. You never know. It's kind of like opening up a package on Christmas. You don't really know what you're getting until you open it up," Taylor said.

And it turns out his new toy was up to the task:  Taylor happily confirmed this week that the lumber that came from that log has gone toward several projects. He even sold some of it to fellow woodworkers, landing a few extra bucks in his pocket. 

Copyright 2021 KSMU. To see more, visit KSMU.

As the Journalist-in-Residence at Missouri State University, Jennifer teaches undergraduate and graduate students, oversees a semester-long, team reporting project, and contributes weekly stories to KSMU Radio in the area of public affairs journalism.