HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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also have couples who come in and want to spend time together and have some fun. Every week we have specials that can help people get going and find out how enjoyable woodworking can be.”


Visit the Lexington Woodcraft Web site at www.woodcraft.com/stores/lexington or call (859)231- 9663 for more information.

Woodwork can take a number of forms. It includes building houses and framing walls as well as the vast world of wood furniture and antiques. Toward the finer, more specialized end of the scale is wood carving. These all require a solid knowledge of the properties of the wood being used.


While wood may seem pretty much the same in our day-to-day dealings with it, not all wood is created equal. The Janka Hardness Test is the standard for measuring the denseness of wood. This is useful for wood that must withstand a lot of pressure, such as hardwood floors and heavy doors. In the United States, this test is measured in pounds-force (lbf), the amount of force needed to dent a piece of wood with a steel ball. This test demonstrates the range from the hardest wood (Australian buloke) to the softest (balsa).


Woodcraft, which has been in the Lexington area since 1928, offers classes in finer wood carving as well as woodwork in general. “Making Your Wood Work” is the store’s motto, says general manager Will Atwood.


 “We offer laser engraving classes, millwork (cutting a piece to a specific size and cleaning it up) and computer numerical control work, which involves a router working three-dimensionally,” he said. “People want advice on how to do things, especially with so much misinformation online.”

WOODWORKING CLASSES OFFERED AT WOODCRAFT


In beginner-advanced classes, the materials and hands-on knowledge are provided. “They simply sign up and dive in. Woodcraft teaches safety and how to use the tools without getting hurt,” Atwood said. “There are also project classes, where people can come in and finish a project they’ve had in mind for awhile. One of our most popular classes recently is the Appalachian banjo class, where you make a banjo over a two-day period. We take these projects from beginning to end, though some people come in just for the finishing classes.”


Atwood says domestic woods in this area of the country are a bit softer and paler. “Exotic woods are more dense and many times harder to use,” he said. “Respirators need to be worn with many of these woods due to their toxicity. We get wood from all over the world and we sell all of the safety material so people can work with it without doing harm to themselves or others.”


Because there are not many companies keeping these finer arts alive, Woodcraft tends to be the go-to place for all things high-end wood-related. “We have people come from many states away just to see us due to our novelty,” At- wood said. “We love having young people here because we’re trying to pass on our craft. We

CHARLES SEBASTIAN

Charles Sebastian is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by charles sebastian