Galt man pas­sion­ate about wood cre­ations

His hand-carved toy trucks are on dis­play at Lodi Pub­lic Li­brary

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Front Page - By Danielle Vaughn

Galt res­i­dent Tim Eg­ger never thought he would en­joy mak­ing cre­ations out of wood, but now Eg­ger is the ul­ti­mate wood­worker. From bird houses and toys to his very own home, he does it all.

A col­lec­tion of wooden toy trucks he de­signed and cre­ated are now on dis­play at the Lodi Pub­lic Li­brary.

Mak­ing cre­ations out of wood has been Eg­ger’s hobby for more than 30 years. He con­tin­ues to do it be­cause it’s some­thing he truly loves, but it wasn’t al­ways that way.

“I was teach­ing in­dus­trial arts and they forced me into teach­ing wood­work­ing,” he said. “I hated wood­work­ing and I got forced into it. Then, once I got forced into it, I fell in love with it.”

Once he found his niche he be­gan to make his own fur­ni­ture and toys for his chil­dren.

Eg­ger tried to make a busi­ness out of mak­ing wooden toys, but quickly re­al­ized there was no money in it. Mak­ing wooden trucks and other play­things takes a lot of time, he said, and peo­ple weren’t will­ing to pay for the time and la­bor he put into it.

“Some of those toys take a week or a week and a half to build, and they’re all my own de­signs. I don’t or­der de­signs. I draw them up my­self,” he said.

Eg­ger comes from an artistic fam­ily and mak­ing these cre­ations comes nat­u­rally to him, his wife Cindy said.

For the most part, Eg­ger likes to make in­dus­trial toy trucks such as front-end load­ers, graders, fire trucks, trains and other in­dus­trial equip­ment.

“Tak­ing some­thing that you’re think­ing about and ac­tu­ally mak­ing some­thing — and when you’re done look­ing at it and mar­veling at what you did — is what I en­joy the most about mak­ing these toys,” he said.

The hard­est part, he said, is get­ting a good de­sign. Once he is able to cre­ate a good de­sign, things go smoothly from there.

“That’s the big­gest chal­lenge — to de­sign it and get all the pro­por­tions right,” he said. “I’m not go­ing off of a plan that some­body else has done. I don’t like do­ing some­body else’s stuff. I like do­ing my own stuff.”

Eg­ger vis­its the li­brary two or three time a week. Dur­ing a rou­tine visit, he no­ticed they were clean­ing out the dis­play case and asked them if they would be in­ter­ested in dis­play­ing his wooden toy trucks. The li­brary was happy to ac­cept.

In ad­di­tion to model trucks, Eg­ger makes large bird­houses, some stand­ing up to 5 feet tall. He goes to lo­cal flea mar­kets and garage sales to col­lect unique pieces and ac­ces­sories, and uses them to build his bird houses.

“We have a bucket that we put all these finds in, and then he just de­signs in his head and puts it all to­gether and makes bird­houses,” Cindy Eg­ger said.

Eg­ger didn’t stop at houses for birds. He built his home in Galt from the ground up, in­clud­ing the de­signs, in­su­la­tion, brick lay­ing, foun­da­tion, the walls and ev­ery­thing else that went into it.

He also built all the fur­ni­ture and did all of the wood­work­ing in his home, in­clud­ing the beds, dressers, cab­i­nets, a clock and more.

He and his fam­ily moved to the area from Wis­con­sin 30 years ago. Now re­tired from teach­ing, Eg­ger splits his time be­tween mak­ing his wooden cre­ations and rent­ing homes.

To­gether, he and Cindy have two chil­dren and five grand­chil­dren rang­ing from the ages of 2 to 16. These days, the grand­chil­dren love to pay with their grand­fa­ther’s mod­els.

Eg­ger cre­ated a large train for his chil­dren 36 years ago, and his grand­chil­dren still sit in it and play with it to­day.

“Some­times you think that kids aren’t in­ter­ested in wood any­more, but kids are still in­ter­ested in wooden toys,” he said.

NEWS-SEN­TINEL PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY BEA AHBECK

Tim Eg­ger puts back one of his hand-carved wooden trucks, which are dis­played at the Lodi Pub­lic Li­brary, in Lodi on Thurs­day.

This is one of Tim Eg­ger’s hand-carved wooden trucks dis­played at the Lodi Pub­lic li­brary in Lodi on Thurs­day.

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

Tim Eg­ger poses with his hand-carved wooden trucks, which are dis­played at the Lodi Pub­lic Li­brary, in Lodi on Thurs­day.

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