Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio
Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio

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Norwalk, Ohio _ You may have heard stories about the farmer’s daughter or the coalminer’s daughter. But Desiree Gilbert has attained status as a woodworker’s daughter.
“My dad drew me into woodcraft step-by-step,” Desiree says. “As a preschooler, I’d hang out in the shop doing little tasks from sweeping sawdust to stacking blocks of wood before I graduated to drawing and painting on wood.”

Although her husband, Tom, was an art major in college, he worked for Ford Motor Company in Lorraine, Ohio, rather than pursue a career in the arts. When the plant closed, he decided to turn his woodworking hobby into a fulltime vocation.

“Our mutual interests make us as perfect a fit as a work team as the pieces of the puzzle boxes he specializes in making.”

The first time you see their puzzle box display, you might assume you are looking at a variety of handsome one-piece wooden decorations. You may start to imagine where you’d place such a piece to show it off. If you collect butterflies, you’ll find butterflies. Enjoy music? Consider a jazzy-looking guitar to set on your fireplace hearth. Want to say ‘I love you’ to some special person? A triple heart will speak volumes.

But what you see at a glance is barely the beginning. Run your finger down the side of a heart and remove an almost invisible pin to open the first of many doors, drawers and sliding panels inside. Whether the flower, fish or frog is 3 by 3 inches or 8 inches tall by 18 inches wide, you will work your way through an elaborate puzzle inside the box. Take out one little drawer and reveal another hidden one in a quest for the most secret compartment, a place to hide treasured rings, bracelets or coins.

“Tom sketches out the inner puzzle in the way a jigsaw maker might draw his parameters,” Desiree says. “Some he does freehand and he’s also designed templates he can reuse. Some may have similar dimensions, but no two are alike because nature varies and he will be working with a variety of beautiful woods.”

She adds that finding the unique wood they use is just as much fun as building the boxes. Their field trips may begin near their Ohio home, but spending a couple days circling the surrounding states often brings them to their favorite suppliers in the state of Kentucky.

“Tom doesn’t like to buy from a catalog. He wants to see the wood. The boxes all have a solid black walnut base, but the accent on top may be burled maple or buckeye, manzanita, curly oak or one of dozens of other exotic woods. Some of the quality lumberyards import wood from all over the world.”

Tom is always looking for new ways to open the puzzle boxes and in the case of his teardrop boxes, he’s used a simple lift off lid. The teardrop box is 18-inches tall and two feet wide with five doors shaped like tear drops.

“ I find them irresistible,” Desiree says.

Boxes are priced from $20 to $2300. An average price is in the range between $100 and $200.

Find the Gilberts in booth 202.

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Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio

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1101 Timberline Dr. • Columbiana, OH 44408

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