Jimmy McNair makes houses and cabins out of wood to give to family and friends as gifts. He also makes a wide variety of wooden toys and furniture in the shop behind his house.
Photo by Jim BlaylockAfter visiting Jimmy McNair's woodworking shop, one leaves with the impression that Santa opened a North Pole branch in Columbia County.
Stools, birdhouses, doll furniture, magazine stands, fruit baskets, napkin and condiment holders, fisherman bobbling toys, trick billfolds, and CD and cassette holders are just a small sample of items produced in McNair's workshop.
"I give a lot of things I make away all during the year, but especially at Christmas," said McNair. "I sell a few things, but I make a lot of stuff for presents."
Woodworking has been a lifelong passion for McNair, 67, a retired truck driver living on Louisville Road. However, since his retirement, he has become much more serious about what he calls his therapeutic hobby.
"I've always liked to do woodworking since I was a child," McNair said. "But the first year after I retired (eight years ago), I had an aneurysm and I do it as a hobby and therapy. I don't try to make much money off of it, because there isn't that much to make. I just enjoy it."
Using a router table, table saw, drills and a slew of other tools, McNair says he takes any scrap of wood he can get his hands one to make his wooden creations. His most popular items are his birdhouses and his stools.
"When I make footstools, I make them with actual feet," said McNair. "I took an impression of my grandson's foot and I use that as a model to put feet on the legs of the footstools. It'll never tip over."
A member of Philadelphia Methodist Church in Columbia County for more than 50 years, McNair often makes birdhouse replicas of the church to give to fellow members who are moving away.
"I can make any kind of birdhouse just from looking at a picture," said McNair. "I've done that for people's houses. I did that for the Wester Veterinary Clinic in Thomson. I also make log cabin-looking birdhouses."
A father of two and a grandfather of four, McNair says that he will continue woodworking for as long as he is able.
"I couldn't imagine doing something where I'm not working with my hands," he said. "It's just a part of who I am."
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