Woodworking builds a passion for teen
HILL CITY — Working with his hands is something 15-year-old James Keith, Bogue, enjoys, and he created plenty of projects for the Graham County Fair, receiving awards for many of them this past week.
Staying busy at home on the farm and at school, Keith entered a detailed wood cabinet, a night stand, a John Deere quilt, a paper mache deer, a glass etching, welded art work and photos at the fair. He has participated in 4-H since he was in second grade.
“I love woodworking,” Keith said. “I just found a passion for it. I enjoy building things.”
The teen became interested in working with wood by helping his grandpa in the shop since he was a little kid. His grandpa is a good teacher, he said.
He received grand champion for his oak cabinet. About 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, the solid wood cabinet is complete with four shelves and four doors with wood surrounded glass.
Keith worked on the project for 90 school days during shop class, using power tools, which is something he is not used to.
He learned patience from the project.
“If it isn’t right, if it isn’t correct, it isn’t going to fit,” he said. “If you have patience, good outcomes will come. If you don’t have patience, it isn’t going to work.”
His favorite part of working at school was learning about all of the new power tools. Keith found the project relaxing.
“Grandpa’s shop versus the school’s shop is whole different ball game,” he said. The school has table saws, joiners and air conditioning.
He stained the cabinet with golden oak because he loves the color. After the fair, he will take it home for his bedroom to display model cars.
After school, Keith jumps in the pickup to help around the farm wherever he is needed. He doesn’t care much for video games or television.
“I like to get outside and do stuff,” he said. He even once helped bale hay at 2 a.m. because of the moisture content of the hay.
He plans to farm when he becomes an adult. If that doesn’t work out, he might try woodworking.
Keith enjoys the hands-on experience of 4-H.
“I had to bring a mountain of stuff to the fair,” he said.
Keith entered a rustic night stand from raw red cedar that he and his cousin sawed with a chainsaw.
My cousin and I “cut a pile of red cedar and made that,” Keith said. “You’ve got to improvise with that thing.”
“I wanted a night stand to match my headboard,” he said. “I love woodworking.”
The nightstand was made in his grandpa’s shop mostly using manual tools, and it was a little stressful, he said. He peeled the bark off the wood to fashion the nightstand.
Also, Keith entered a welded turkey, which was a free spirit piece made from pieces of metal found around the farm.
“I just started finding pieces and made a turkey out of it,” Keith said. His dad taught him to weld.
“This year, my mom decided I needed to learn how to sew,” he said. She taught him the skill, and he made a quilt out of the John Deere T-shirts that he outgrew.
“This was my first sewing project, ever,” he said. He’s not so sure he will continue that hobby.
The teen received overall champion in senior clothing construction and grand champion for the quilt. He purchased nothing for that project, but it took a couple of months, working on the project when it was hot outside.
His family is proud.
“We always love to come to the fair,” and see his work, said great-grandparents Norman and Phyllis Brandyberry. “We just love all the grandkids and to come and see their stuff.
“He does good work. James is very mature,” Phyllis Brandyberry said.Bogue, James Keith, passion, teen, woodworking