When you visit Joslin’s Jewelry, you might notice a few gleaming wood sculptures mixed in among the jewelry cases – just another example of Gary Joslin’s varied talents!
If you’ve met Gary Joslin, it may not surprise you that he’s the craftsman behind the beautiful wood sculptures at Joslin’s! Where did Gary find his love for woodworking? Great question! Before Gary became an expert jeweler, he formerly worked as a wood shop teacher!
Gary takes his hobbies seriously. So when it came to woodworking, his first project wasn’t a birdhouse or a picture frame. In fact, Gary set out to make a grandfather clock! Through his work on the wooden clock project, Gary learned more woodworking techniques, learned to use more tools, and became better and better at the craft. After completing the complex grandfather clock Gary was hooked – and eager to continue with more woodworking and carpentry projects.
One of Gary’s favorite carpentry projects was completed almost 20 years ago along with the help of some woodworking friends. He and his woodworking buddies were approached by a Boy Scout troop with a unique request – to make a track for their annual pinewood derby! The Scout troop was in need of a sturdy track designed and made to exact specifications for their annual derby event. Each of the Scout Troop members would be crafting small wooden cars, which would race head-to-head and side-by-side in downhill gravity race that would be staged on the track each year.
Gary and his friends built an 8 ft tall, 30 ft long track out of sturdy, solid maple – constructed so that each lane was equally fast – perfect for the scouts to race their pinewood derby cars on!
Today, more than 20 years later, that Boy Scout troop still uses the very same track for their annual derby races! In fact, Gary said he had the chance to see the track again last year and was genuinely thrilled to see that it looked as beautiful now as it did two decades ago when they originally built it.
At the store, the two most asked-about sculptures sit on a shelf (near a striking Onyx Lamp that Gary also created) – a wooden vase and an oversized wooden toadstool! Both of these projects, like most of Gary’s wood sculpture pieces, began simply as a big block of hardwood, usually walnut. Gary trims the hardwood blocks down and then places them in a wood lathe. A wood lathe, for anyone unfamiliar with woodworking, is a machine that holds the wood on an axis and spins it so that the woodworker can use a variety of different tools to “turn” the wood down, using various cutting tools to remove excess wood, shaping it into its final desired form.
While this is where the majority of the transformation from block of wood to work of art happens, Gary says that the trick to making his sculptures really beautiful is sanding! This is how he pulls out the long grain patterns of the walnut and prepares it for lacquer. To achieve the incredible high shine on the sculptures Gary applies not just one or two layers of lacquer, he applies eight layers of lacquer, giving the sculptures their amazing shine and preserving the wood’s beautiful finish!