Remember the ice storm of December 2007?

Remember the ice storm of December 2007?

Ed Grundy's most recent wood craftsmanship project pays a little tribute to that natural disaster while giving his talents to an upcoming tree conference in Joplin. Taking salvaged wood from one of the countless trees damaged by the ice storm of 2007, Grundy has made 18 plaques for the speakers of the Missouri Community Forestry Council's annual conference “Preparedness Diminishes Disaster.”

“I am personally in awe of Ed's skill as a woodworker,” said John Skinner, urban forester for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “The Missouri pin oak plaques are wonderful and will represent MCFC well as mementos of the conference for the 18 presenters. Not only is Ed's skill being displayed with the plaques, but he has generously donated Christmas ornaments, a three-panel nativity scene, Maple Leaf pins and a bluebird house for the conference's silent auction and door prizes. What's even more impressive, all of these items are made from salvaged wood. The materials come from an ice-damaged pin oak tree, and wood waste from manufacturers. For many years, Ed has and continues to work as a craftsman repairing wooden furniture and making items of his own design. I am grateful he is willing to share his skill and passion with us.”

The conference, set for March 5-7, will have more than 100 people from Missouri and the surrounding states attending technical presentations, a field session of tree planting and social networking.

A busy retirement
Four years ago, Ed Grundy retired from his business, Grundy's Refinishing – but the sounds of a wood shop are still emanating from his building beside his Carthage home.

“I have a bunch to do, but that's what retirement is for,” he said, looking over his work last week on the MCFC plaques. “You got to have an idea, you got to have the tools, or a tool, and a good pattern.”

Grundy is the fifth generation of his family to be raised in Jasper County, and takes pride in that continuation with his granddaughter. He says he first took an interest in woodwork in high school.

“I do still have all 10 digits but I got 40 stitches down my face from that,” he said, pointing to a wooden bowl setting up on a shelf in his shop. “I was working on that piece of locust with a lathe when it came up and hit me. I keep it up there – it's education. It sets up there as a reminder.”

After many years in the unique skill, Grundy still keeps a steady hand.

“No smoking, no drinking. It's the tricks of the trade,” he said with a smile. “I can't write, or paint, but I like to take a piece of wood and have it say something.”