And Point Pleasant resident Mark Nolan uses his hobby of woodworking as a way to relax and escape the everyday tasks of life.
Nolan, whose primary job is working as a physician at Pleasant Valley Hospital, said he has enjoyed woodworking for several years and has been doing extensive detailed woodwork for 12 years. However, he remembers making his first piece in junior high school.
“The first thing I made was a wooden giraffe that I still have,” he said. “I just like woodworking. I’ve always liked doing stuff with my hands.”
He added that his father was a builder, which sparked his interest in woodworking. Nolan said he primarily makes furniture, including dressers, desks and baby beds, which are all made from hard woods.
“When I get the wood, it’s a rough piece of lumber,” he added.
Nolan spends his weekends woodworking in his garage, which is where his shop is. He described relaxation as his favorite aspect of woodworking.
“I like it all. (Woodworking) takes my brain off everything else. It’s very relaxing to me,” Nolan said.
The finished product is what Nolan described as the most interesting part of woodworking.
“Just seeing it all come together (is interesting),” he said.
Nolan added that some cribs use up to 200 pieces of wood, and seeing what he has built being used is especially meaningful for Nolan, as he described his fondest memories spanning from watching his grandchildren use the baby beds he made.
“Seeing my grandkids in (the beds) sleeping and knowing that you built the thing and no one else has it (is nice),” he said.
According to Nolan, he has made cribs, changing tables and dressers for his grandchildren. He prides himself that his grandchildren’s furniture is unique. He described the process of making one-of-a-kind furniture as being very precise and time-consuming.
“Sanding (is the hardest part) because it takes the longest. There are joints that have to fit perfectly together. It is really precise,” Nolan said.
He added that he begins working on something by going through the individual pieces of wood he has to see what pieces work best.
“Once you have plans, you have to lay them out and know where to make cuts and how it all fits together,” he said.
After the wooden piece is assembled and glued together, Nolan begins the sanding process and applies finish.
“You sand and finish until you get (the piece) where you want it,” Nolan said.
According to Nolan, he primarily does woodwork for his family and plans to continue the art after he retires. Nolan currently works on the weekends due to his busy schedule as a doctor; however, he described working as a doctor and doing woodwork as being quite similar.
“They require a lot of the same (skills). You have to think about everything you do and you have to think ahead like what we do (at the doctor’s office),” he said. “(Woodworking) is not like going out and cutting a piece of wood.”
In fact, Nolan encouraged those who want to practice woodworking to be aware of the technical aspects.
“You have to plan a lot of what you want to do and figure out how much lumber you need. (Woodworking) is a lot of math, and it’s not cheap and takes a lot of tools,” he said.
In addition, Nolan said he constantly is learning new things involving woodwork. He described his skills as being much more advanced now than when he first began woodworking.
“(Woodworking) is a lot different than it used to be. I used to use screws and now I use wood-glued joints and stay completely away from screws — I don’t use nails,” he said.
Nolan encouraged others to find a hobby to enjoy.
“Hobbies are a good idea for everyday life. Go out and have fun,” he said.
This certainly is one piece of advice Nolan has applied to his own life as he continues to gain relaxation and enjoyment from woodworking.
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