He doesn’t tick away time sitting in a recliner watching television. Instead, Eugene Stache of Chilton is on the go as he creates the measurement of time and tick tock melody by handcrafting clocks and other wood creations.
Stache found immense enjoyment from his 39 years of employment at Land O’Lakes and wasn’t necessarily looking forward to retirement; however, a woodworking hobby quickly took hold of him and 18 years later he is still creating clocks and more.
Eugene was introduced to the idea from his brother. “I saw a clock on my brother’s wall and was surprised to learn that he made it. I thought it was pretty good so he gave me a pattern for a clock that my wife wanted. I gave it a shot, thinking why not and I loved it and have been making clocks ever since,” he said.
The estimate is 75 to 80 clocks and most created out of goodwill. “I don’t keep track of how many I’ve made and I never sell them. I have kept some for myself and make most for gifts. I give them away to people, people that I know and others who have done something good,” Stache said.
The craftsman’s workshop smells of fresh cut wood and is lined with projects in various stages. The scroll saw, his mainstay of equipment, is front and center, and a bandsaw, lathe and more are in the back. Eugene explains his process, “I begin with picking out a pattern and purchase it and the clock mechanisms from Cherry Tree, a store in Beloit. I then buy the wood at Kettle Moraine Hardwoods in Harford where I can get the best pricing. I prefer to work with oak and walnut. I usually work on several clocks at once since I have to wait eight to 10 hours for the glue to dry.”
Some patterns can cost up to $28 and once received, Stache sends them to Printing Express to have several copies made so he can repeatedly reuse the pattern. In reference to his largest project he said, “This large clock I really didn’t intend to make but I bought the pattern for just one dollar and made it as a challenge.”
How much time did this challenge take? “I worked on it over the course of two months. Not sure how many hours but I did put in quite a bit of time,” Eugene said.
Stache’s workshop is abuzz with other projects as well. He has made shelves, doll houses, cradles, animal cut-outs, antique cars and trucks, cedar chests and more. Again, they are mainly gifts for family and friends. He is also in the process of building a train set, complete with trains, tracks and scenery, a project reserved solely for the winter months.
Eugene’s woodworking hobby is squeezed in between his ever ready handyman roll to his children, grandchildren, extended family and friends. Constructing walls, moving doors, dry walling, and even roofing keeps him in the shape of a man less than half his 82 years. “Oh, I’m always busy,” he said.
Two of Stache’s donated clocks may be seen in public venues. One is located at Ledge View Nature Center and another at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rantoul. He has also provided lectures on his hobby. On Tuesday, June 3, Stache will display his work and provide an overview of his craft at the Chilton Public Library starting at 6:30 p. m.