Union man makes wooden wondersBy DEMETRIUS THOMPSON,
If it came from the trunk or the branch of a tree, there’s a good chance that longtime Union resident Jerry Hamm can make something useful out of it. After several years of helping to keep the City of Union running while working with the water and street and sanitation departments, Hamm has spent the past decade creating wooden works for his family and friends.
Hamm was born and raised in the Good Hope community, just north of Lake in Scott County. When he was around 20, he met his wife of 55 years, Linda, a Union native, and they soon after settled down in her hometown.
During his jobs as a house painter, a cable installer and city worker, Hamm honed his woodworking skills and techniques as well as his mechanical expertise that allowed him to restore a 1959 model tractor to mint condition.
“I’ve always liked antiques and old antique tractors,” Hamm said. “And I’ve been doing wood working about all my life.”
After retiring about 11 years ago, Hamm became more prolific in his wood work and has carved and built furniture, acoustic guitars, bowls, wooden kettles, tables, and even toys such as yo-yos and spinning tops.
He said that different projects take different amounts of time, depending on how much time he has to devote to them each day.
“It takes several weeks to make something like this,” said Hamm about a guitar he made in 2016, which he calls his pride and joy. “I don’t just go out there and sit there and work on it every hour of every day. I might go out there and work on it for a couple of hours.”
Among the other items Hamm has made include two walking sticks for his brother and sister-in-law and two gourd banjos.
“A lot of it is family. I don’t every sell nothing hardly. Most of what I make, I give it away,” he said.
Hamm uses several different types of wood for his work including walnut and poplar trees and also uses some wood from fallen branches found around the house.
Some of his work was on display at the Union Public Library until recently, when Linda retired in December after 20 years with the library system.