Yelm resident Ron Betschart needed a hobby when he retired around four years ago, so he bought a couple of saws and sanders and started working with wood.
He first started woodworking in high school, and although he liked it, he didn’t start taking it seriously until recently.
“I kinda liked it then, so I just did it,” Betschart said.
He said that he didn’t have much trouble figuring it out, he just needed a little bit of practice and was ready to go. He said that he did get some help from a book, but most of the skills he taught himself.
“I just sort of set my mind to it and learned it,” he said.
Though he considers his work to be a hobby, his products are for sale at the Yelm Farmers Market and by request. His most popular items tend to be National Football league and college football logos.
Betschart, who retired as a production manager at a cheese plant, said the work is a good fit for him because he is able to stay close to home with his wife, who has terminal cancer. She has been sick for about three years now, and woodworking allows Betschart to practice a hobby while staying by her side.
It is just a hobby and he doesn’t have any large plans for the future, and he is happy with that.
“I’m doing what I am doing and having fun with it,” he said.
Each piece takes him about four hours. He uses multiple types of saws and sanders in order to carve the wood. He starts with prints and traces them to a piece of wood that he turns into a stencil. He then transfers this image to the wooden block that he then cuts out, sands and paints. He also burns some of the wood to give it a charred look.
He does some custom work, which is actually how most of his items were created.
“Someone would ask me, ‘Can you make me this one?’, ‘Can you make me that one?’ so that’s how most of them started out,” Betschart said.
He’s made wooden logos of Washington State University, the University of Washington, the University of Alabama, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, the Atlanta Falcons, Central Washington University, the Philadelphia Eagles and many more.
There are only a few logos — the Oakland Raiders, for example — that are too complex for him to create with wood, he said.
This spring, he has moved into making birdhouses and wishing wells for gardens that are used as planters. He said that he started expanding his woodworking when the football season ended in order to work on projects that will be popular year-round.
Betschart has been a Yelm resident for about 40 years and was born and raised in Roy. He said that his wife have been in the community for 60 years. He moved to Yelm when they got married.
To inquire about a potential purchase, contact Betschart at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 360-489-4434.