Old Town man discovers a beautiful skill during retirement

OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - It's a classic tale.

Retirement hits, and it seems like time is all you've got.

Jeanne Roy says that was the case when her husband, James, retired in 1999.

"Bored out of his head. And, driving me crazy. And, I thought, 'what am I going to do with this man?' He's looking out the window. He's walking around the house, and I had to think of something for him to do."

Then an idea struck.

James could use the new scroll saw his employers at Hannaford gave him as a retirement gift to pass the time.

"So, he did that. He made things for the grandchildren for Christmas."

She says that was just the beginning. What happened next was a surprise for them both. James found he had a knack for using his saw to cut out tiny holes in wood from patterns he and his son ordered from Spain. Jeanne says the next thing she knew, James began producing these intracate clocks in his workshop in their cellar.

"And one clock became many clocks, and they're beautiful. He does an amazing job."

This is the first one he made.

"I said, 'that's my favorite,' and every one he makes now, that's my favorite! But I still like the first one the best. It's my favorite, and it's exquisite."

James says he always enjoyed woodwork but this was a new skill he didn't know he had in him.

"I didn't have a scroll saw, and I didn't know anything about it. Nobody showed me how to use it or anything. It's all self-taught."

"I think it's wonderful, though. I think it's wonderful that he has such an interest."

"Gives me something to do, and I enjoy doing it."

Jeanne also helps paint some of the clocks with poured acryllics.

James has made about 40 clocks over the years and even a few shelves and tables.

Incredible craftsmanship at any age, and maybe even more incredible considering James is 82. But these two say age is only a number and encourage others to take a chance on something new in their lives at any time.

If you'd like to buy one, you can give them a call at 827-2811.

They will also be at the UMaine Craft Fair this fall.