Building for the outdoors

Chantelle MacIsaac
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Ken Meade builds for the outdoors

Ken Meade in his workshop in Fox Roost. — Photo by Chantelle MacIsaac/The Gulf News

Ken Meade isn’t a carpenter, but his skills for building yard-worthy creations would really make you wonder where he gets his talent.

Right down at the end of the road in Fox Roost you will find his shed. He converted the old grocery store into his carpentry shop after it closed.

It is now filled with lumber, tools and other supplies he uses to create wooden masterpieces.

Ken is a retired fisherman, and although he still works with the harbour authority, he needed a hobby to occupy his time.

“You have to have a hobby,” he said. “I can’t just sit around and watch television.”

His collection of tools started off slowly years ago, and as time went on he was able to upgrade to better-quality equipment that allow him to create different items.

The list of things that Ken can create is quite extensive; he makes a lot more than garbage boxes.

One of his more recognizable items are the lighthouses he creates.

“When I first started making them, it used to take me two weeks,” he said.

With his honed skills, it takes him about a week to build one now.

They are extensively detailed and painted to reflect the old style of red and white lighthouses.

“I usually save those projects for the winter,” said Ken. “I tend to have this shed full of items by the time spring comes.”

The lighthouses are all built uniquely, ranging in size from a little more than three feet tall to almost five feet tall.

Among other things that he is able to create are wheelbarrow planters.

“Someone brought me a picture one time,” he said. “From there I just went with it.”

He has also been creating planter box benches, wishing wells, potato/onion bins, driveway markers, rocking chairs, swings, two-seater benches, picnic tables and more.

It’s quite the extensive list for someone who does it as a hobby.

“I do it because I like it,” he said.

Right now he is working on a bed frame. This is the third bed frame he has made, along with a set of pine bunk beds.

“They are guaranteed not to squeak,” he said with a chuckle.

There is no rush on the bed frame because it is being made for a family member, and it takes more time as it has detailed work.

There are bits and pieces all over the shop. Some will go into future designs.

He said that there is hardly any waste to the lumber. He burns what pieces that he can’t use in his wood stove.

Most of his items are stained with a cedar oil stain, and regrettably, he said that once the supply he has runs out, that will be it.

The company has stopped making the kind of stain he likes to use.

“The water beads right off of the stain,” he said. “It doesn’t soak into the wood at all.”

He noted that some ask for pressure-treated wood but it drives the cost up extensively.

Meade says he really enjoys his hobby but notes that it wouldn’t be something he could do full time.

“You don’t make much money at this. You would starve to death trying to make a living out of it,” he said.

To view any of his creations you can contact him at his home in Fox Roost, but he also notes that his cabin in MacDougall’s sticks out because of all the items he has in his yard.


The Gulf News

Organizations: Gulf News

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