STANLY THE MAGAZINE: Jerry Meajmer is very crafty – The Stanly News & Press

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Stanley the Magazine: Jerry Meadowsimmer is very cunning.

Published on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 11:25am

Sometimes life can be ironic.

Jerry Measimer, who lives in Litchfield but grew up in Cabarrus County, took a shop class in eighth grade, where he learned how to turn wood into pieces of art, in this case lamps and baseball bats. I learned. Although he was interested in woodworking in general, he was not interested in the specific craft of wood lathe, which he found boring.

“I said, this is stupid,” he recalled. “I didn’t like it because I didn’t understand it and I didn’t know how the tools worked.”

Back in 2007, Measimer picked up a woodworking book with a hollow, decorative Christmas ball on the cover. Each ball had a small hole 16Number 1 inch thick.

Measimer was incredulous at the complexity of the decoration, which piqued his interest.

“Nobody can do that,” he said. “It was just a beautiful, clean piece of wood.”

He bought the book and met the author. He took classes from professional woodturners and absorbed as much as he could about the complex craft.

“It just got bigger and bigger,” he says, “and I got hooked.”

Jerry Meadzimer turns wood on a lathe.

The former Marine has a full-time job at Culp Lumber Company, but every day he turns large blocks of wood into intricate, often colorful pieces on a lathe in a workshop behind his home called Shop II Woodworks Studio. I spend a lot of time processing it into beautiful bowls. , urn, frame, hummingbird house, cowboy hat. Workshops are often filled with piles of wood chips.

He has made thousands of pieces since he started wood turning more than a decade ago, but his hummingbird birdhouse and cowboy hat are probably the ones he is best known for. Much of his wood comes from local vendors like A & H Millwork in Albemarle.

In addition to creating his pieces, Measimer also practices pyrography, a technique in which he decorates wood by burning designs into the surface with a heated metal tip. Many of his hummingbird houses are decorated with images of wheat stalks.

He has taught and demonstrated in numerous workshops, including classes at Pfeiffer. His work has been exhibited at the Stanley Arts Guild, the Cabarrus Arts Council (of which he is a life member and past president of the Woodworking Club of Concord), and the Mint Museum in Charlotte. He donates much of his work to local organizations and charities.

A hummingbird house doesn’t take long to make, but for many people, measimers are synonymous with cowboy hats. He’s made them for all kinds of people, including former Miss America and musician Charlie Daniels.

He first learned the craft of hats in 2007 in a class taught by Chris Ramsey, a Kentucky native who made cowboy hats for President George W. Bush.

Meeshmers have many different types of hats, including hats made from poplar and oak, top hats and derby hats, and traditional John Wayne-style Western style hats.

wooden cowboy hat.

He starts with 65 to 70 pounds of wood. After about two hours of turning, repositioning, and biting, his cowboy hat was complete.

The finished product will take longer, about a week. The wood must be bent and dried. Once completed, the Meeshimmer is lacquered and hand-scrubbed each of her hats with sandpaper. The weight of the hat is also quite light, usually she weighs 7 to 9 ounces.

“What I love most about him is how much he enjoys his job and how much he enjoys people,” said his wife, Tammy. “I never get old watching him.”

But woodworking wasn’t easy for Measimer. It took him many classes and years of trial and error until he really got used to the technique.

When he was still studying, he once threw his hat in frustration after failing. He sat down and asked himself. “Am I doing this for fun or what am I doing this for?”

At this moment his mind changed.

“That’s when I told myself I don’t care what I made,” he said. “I loved the process of woodworking.”

Impact of COVID-19

Over the years, his reputation has spread throughout the state and across the country. He says it’s not unusual for people to come to his workshop to see his creations. A woman who lived in New York and had a son in the area told him that he had become a celebrity after visiting his property to purchase a hummingbird home.

Measimah had a busy 2019. His Hummingbird House was featured in Our State magazine, and he attended the American Woodworkers Association Raleigh Woodworking Symposium, where he taught classes and networked with many of his woodturning peers. I did.

He had one of his wooden cowboy hats approved by three judges in Raleigh. According to Meadzimer, about 700 works were submitted at the symposium, but only about 10 were accepted by the judges.

“I was just shocked” when he found out one of his pieces had been recognized.

He was preparing for an even busier 2020 until the pandemic hit and canceled nearly all of his scheduled in-person events, though he did host some virtual events.

“I thought last year was going to be the year that I got my name out there,” Measimer said.

Although he still works in his workshop every day, creating various pieces, especially hummingbird hives, he misses the connections he was able to make with people at the many events held each year.

“I’m looking forward to demonstrating and teaching,” he said.

With COVID-19 cases declining as more people get vaccinated, Meersimer has several events scheduled this year, including one in Michigan and another in Asheville.

shaped by military service

Meesimer plans to donate his “Freedom” wooden hat, made from ash from New London Park and decorated with a bald eagle and American flag, to a fundraiser for Marines and their families. This pyrograph piece was completed by artist Michelle Parsons.

Jerry Measimer created Freedom Hats to raise money for Marines and their families.

He believes the Marines helped shape him into the man he is today: He dropped out of Concord High School during his junior year at just 17 to enlist in the Marines. After graduating from boot camp on Parris Island in South Carolina, he was briefly stationed at an Army base in Maryland before heading to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.

While serving in the Marine Corps, Measimer spent several months overseas as part of a NATO cruise, traveling throughout Europe including England, France, and Germany.

He experienced many ups and downs during his military career, which taught him the importance of resilience and never giving up. This mindset was especially helpful as he struggled with woodworking over the years.

Throughout his 14 years as a woodturner, Measimer broke his nose, cheek, toe and several fingers. But he doesn’t let the injury stop him from continuing with his passion.

“We have to push through and keep moving forward,” he said.

The best compliment he ever received in his woodworking career was after a demonstration at Pfeiffer several years ago.

“You’re like Bob Ross. You think anyone can do it,” one of his students said to him.

“I thought it was great to be able to show them that if you don’t give up and just try, you can do something,” he says.

Despite working on his craft every day for more than a decade, Measimer never tires of learning about wood lathes.

“There’s always something new you can do,” he said. “Even after making thousands of pieces, it’s pretty exciting.”

It is also calming and relaxing for measimers. He likes turning wood on a lathe while listening to the blues or watching TV.

“I love watching the shavings fly away,” he said. “You could do that all day and come up with nothing.”

Now, if a piece breaks, all you have to do is pick up a new piece of wood and start the process again.

“There’s always more wood,” he said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for Capital News Service in Annapolis, and many of his articles on immigration and culture were published in national newspapers through the Associated Press.

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