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Publish Date: 10/10/2005

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Erie Police Chief John Hall, who enjoys woodworking in his spare time, stands with two of his creations at the police department. Hall has been doing woodworking for about 15 years. Times-Call News Group/Leslie Wilber

Calling all carvings
Erie police chief winds down with woodworking projects


ERIE — Evidence of Police Chief John Hall’s hobby is on the walls and shelves of the Erie Police Department.

It’s in the picture frames and shadow boxes that line his walls and the handful of clocks that keep time. It’s in a silhouette of officers from “The Andy Griffith Show” hanging in Lt. Lee Mathis’ office.

In his spare time, Hall makes intricate woodworking creations.

“It’s something to do to relieve the day-to-day stress,” he said.

Hall began woodworking about 15 years ago, while working in Billings, Mont. Several years later, his wife bought him a scroll saw for Christmas.

“I make whatever catches my fancy to build,” Hall said.

That includes a 7-foot-tall grandfather clock, several nativity scenes, pictures and a chandelier.

The grandfather clock, which Hall counts among his most impressive projects, took a year to build.

“Most everything I do, I give away,” Hall said. “We can only have so many clocks in the house.”

In the past, Hall made clocks shaped like Lamar Police Department badges for officers and nativity scenes for the department’s clerks.

Mathis, who is also from Lamar, keeps his wooden clock on a shelf behind his desk.

Hall uses photo-editing software to make patterns from pictures.

“You change it to just black and white, and erase the things you don’t want and add anything you do,” Hall said.

He then glues the pattern on the wood and saws away.

Family members have suggested that he try the method on pumpkins to make Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

“I haven’t done that,” Hall said. “It’s the same idea, just from wood to pumpkin.”

Hall has constructed many pieces of furniture as well. When his grown son was in high school, they made a bed together. When Hall’s son no longer wanted the bed, he gave it to his nephew.

There are areas of woodworking that remain a mystery to Hall, though.

“I can make furniture, and I can make these little things,” he said. “I haven’t got a clue how to build a shed.”

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