Ken Evans has hand-crafted 13 banjos in the past six months and is currently working on a few more.
“It is one of my favorite things to do,” he said. “It is really quite rewarding, too.”
Evans, a retired high school chemistry teacher, has been a member of the Northeastern Woodworkers Association for about 20 years.
He now teaches a class on how to design and create banjos — another task he finds quite rewarding.
On Sunday, Evans was showing intrigued visitors his banjo collection during the organization’s open house in Clifton Park.
The NWA is a non-profit membership organization of woodworkers, both amateur and professional, who see woodworking as a hobby. The goal of the organization is to formally educate its members and to have them learn informally from one another.
Pete Lofrumento, a member of the organization, said he guarantees prospective members a smile and a warm handshake.
“We make sure everyone can participate and they feel good about what they are doing,” he said. “If people walk away happy and feeling good about themselves then we did a good job.”
Lofrumento said the rented 6,000-square-foot workspace gives members ample space to work on projects and hone their skill. But the space isn’t used for personal projects.
“This is not a personal workshop,” he said. “This space is for projects that will help another organization or that we give to the community.”
The organization offers a variety of classes from wood turning to pen-making.
Mickey Hoell of Accord said he traveled about 70 miles to visit the workshop. He said he had heard great things about the classes that were offered and equipment that was available but wanted to see for himself.
“It’s really quite amazing,” he said. “They have all the equipment a woodworker would ever want.”
It took Barry Ginsburg of Albany about 10 months to create his first guitar. But he said the feeling was so rewarding he can’t wait to do it again.
“There are definitely some things I would improve on,” said the experienced guitarist. “But I can’t wait to try it again.”
Rich Duval, the organization’s president, who admits he has yet to perfect the craft, first starting woodworking when a table in his house needed to be redesigned.
“My television is at the foot of my bed and my dog sleeps at the bottom of the bed,” Duval said. “My wife and I bought the dog as a puppy but as it grew it started to block the television.”
So Duval bought a few pieces of wood and lifted the table a few feet.
“Now we can see the television just fine,” he said.