Offbeat: Carpenter

November 30, 2006--Posted at 1:15 p.m. CST

Craighead Co.--71 year old Jim Johnson is a carpenter by trade and he's been working with wood ever since he was boy.  Johnson says he lived back when Santa Claus didn't come so he had to make his own toys. These days, Jim's building houses around Region 8 and has been for more than 40 years. But when Jim's not building houses with wood, he's creating wooden things to go inside them. "The Lord put it in my head," said Jim. "I can see it before I build it."  And what he sees is almost beyond imagination.  Everything is solid wood, Jim never uses particle board, and he usually uses exotic woods, like zebra wood and ebony wood.

Jim spends almost every waking hour on the job, or at home, cutting through the sawdust and sliding the sander for just the right smooth.  One table he's built has 17 different kids of wood in it and another is 10 feet long with a deer head pattern built into the top.

"I call it piddlin," said Johnson.  "It's just piddlin'and that's the way i want to do it. It's just a past time so when you come in tired and wore out, this just relaxes you and makes you feel easier."

You might say Jim Johnson is a truly a cut above.