Woodworking is a favorite hobby for 90-year-old Richard Fox.
“It just gives me something to do,” Fox said. “I just took a notion after mom died and I just got into this stuff.”
Fox’s mother Naomi died in 1986, the same year he started making his wooden treasure.
“She died and I wasn’t farming so I just started making stuff,” Fox said.
A lifelong rural Upper Sandusky resident, Fox grew up on a farm on Township Highway 58 and makes his home on the same land where his parents once lived. Hundreds of wooden figures are located throughout his home and garage.
Fox’s father Walter was a farmer. One of Fox’s creations is a model barn like the one his parents used to own. The roof comes off the barn to show intricate details inside. A tribute to his days on the farm, Fox also has made wooden models of countless farm tools.
“Me and my dad used to farm together,” Fox said. “He died in ’79. I got a lot of my ideas from off the farm.”
The projects are a history lesson of sorts. Fox’s larger, more detailed creations include the old Mifflin School and Wesley Chapel Church.
“The church was put up in 1860, wall-to-wall,” Fox said. “It was the first church building and the very first of any denomination in Mifflin Township. It was all walnut and in 1902, they put up a new brick church and called it Wesley Chapel.”
Like the barn, the roof on both the church and schoolhouse comes off to reveal a detailed inside with furniture. The church is filled with handmade wooden pews, the school with desks and a blackboard, all carved by Fox.
“The first schoolhouse at Mifflin Center was made of logs,” Fox said. “Around 1876, they put up a one-room brick building and in 1931, they put up a bigger brick building.”
Perhaps Fox’s favorite thing to build are covered bridges. He has made 192 wooden bridges over the years, one of which Fox says is on display at the Wyandot County Museum.
“We used to have a covered bridge down here (near the family farm) that was put up in 1875,” Fox said.
Other Fox creations include hen houses, cabins, cars, coffins, buggies, old wash basins, circus wagons, wind mills, lighthouses, beds, sleighs, coffee tables and more. He also has made old-fashioned dressers and stoves, all with drawers that open and close, several different butter churns with moving parts and a water well with miniature buckets that go around on a pulley system. Each miniature wooden work is accurate to the slightest detail.
“He has (the design details) all in his head,” Fox’s daughter Barb Barber said. “He doesn’t read books or anything. He just does it.
“He does it all year round,” she added. “In the winter time, we’ll set it up where he can do it inside his house. I enjoy staying with him and helping him out.”
Fox makes his wooden pieces as a hobby. He gives them away to different people. Some of his works are in California, Florida, West Virginia, Missouri and Tennessee.
By CHANDA NEELY