Whitehall-Coplay Press

Friday, May 25, 2018
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMILGordon Baker, a resident at Fellowship Community, works on a commissioned project — a display stand for a ceremonial sword — at the woodshop located on the Whitehall grounds. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMILGordon Baker, a resident at Fellowship Community, works on a commissioned project — a display stand for a ceremonial sword — at the woodshop located on the Whitehall grounds.
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMILFellowship Community resident Gordon Baker displays a prized guitar cane, part of his collection. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMILFellowship Community resident Gordon Baker displays a prized guitar cane, part of his collection.

Woodworking at Fellowship

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Resident keeps busy by making creative canes

“One of the things that made me choose coming to Fellowship Community was the woodworking shop,” said Gordon Baker, a resident in the independent living area of Fellowship Community, Whitehall, and a retired engineer with Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

Baker has always been active and did not want to just sit around all day in his golden years watching television. During his younger days, he was a race official with Sports Car Clubs of America.

“I was supervising the pits,” he said.

He declined offers to run as mayor and, instead, happily settled into Fellowship Community.

“The woodshop we have here is pretty interesting. Most of the machines were donated by someone [who] came here,” Baker said.

According to Baker, you can bring any machine you want, but it has to stay at the shop.

A few years ago, the woodworkers asked the Fellowship board to add on to a garage they were using for woodworking projects. They got a 50-foot addition and quickly filled that up with machines. One corner of the garage is dedicated to metalworking.

“I worked a while making pens, but then I got into canes,” Baker said.

Baker’s canes are not just a carved stick with a fancy handle.

“The most popular one that I make is the one that looks like a guitar,” he said. “Martin Guitar gives me a few rejected fret boards, and I take it from there.”

The designs are ones that he often turns on the lathe.

“I have a small lathe close to my workbench,” he said. “I sent a few of the canes over to Walter Reed (National Military Medical Center), and the soldiers there loved them.”

Baker’s designs are not restricted to the guitar special.

“I have one that resembles a tennis racket, another with a railroad carving. I did one with a baseball bat that I took to the IronPigs game,” he said.

The guitar remains the most popular.

“Some of the people who buy the guitar cane use it as a wall hanging,” he said.

Baker adheres to his own marketing philosophy.

“I make them when I can. I used to go to a few craft fairs, but now I go to the one Hess has in her house and the bazaar here at Fellowship Community. Friends ask me to make them, too,” he said.

Need a distinctive cane? Contact Baker at glbaker34@gmail.com or call 610-703-3399. He or another woodworker will be in touch.