Herald Journal, Jan. 23, 2006
Woodworking started at young age for Chris Fall
By Liz Hellmann
For the procrastinators among us, it’s an accomplishment to buy a birthday present a week ahead of time, but that’s not possible for Chris Fall, 21, of Howard Lake, who spends anywhere from 100 to more than 1,000 hours handcrafting his family’s presents.
Fall has a unique talent for woodworking that started when he was only 7 years old.
“I think the reason I started was my dad used to build birdhouses in the basement. I’d see him working and I guess I was just curious,” Fall said.
Fall uses a scroll saw to make intricate and detailed designs in wood. His creations include clocks, sleighs, jewelry boxes, pictures, and more.
“I make pretty much anything and everything that I can out of wood,” Fall said. “I like doing the scroll saw work, and I like to see what the piece looks like when it’s done.”
Although Fall doesn’t know if he will ever sell his work, he enjoys giving it as presents to his family and friends.
“There are not that many people in the US that do this. Some people do sell them the clock that I made for my sister’s wedding would go for about $9,000 to $10,000 dollars,” Fall said.
Two of his clocks have won awards at the Wright County Fair, including his first clock, which Fall made when he was only 8.
“I found some patterns and got some ideas on how to use a scroll saw, and my dad had a scroll saw, so it just sort of took off,” Fall said.
Fall started using a band saw with cookie cut outs. Now he either designs his own patterns or uses an existing one to cut the wood in the exact shape he wants with a scroll saw.
“As far as learning everything, I’ve sort of learned by myself and went where my ability could take me,” Fall said.
Fall estimates he spent about 110 to 120 hours on the first clock he made, which is on the low end of time logged for his projects.
He spent 600 to 700 hours on another larger clock, which stands about three feet tall. As far as hours spent on a picture he made for his mother Deb’s birthday; “I gave up trying to keep track,” Fall said.
“He has a talent that is not ordinary,” Deb said, who works at Midland Insurance Group in Winsted.
Fall not only puts a lot time into his projects, but also a good amount of money.
“I like to work with exotic woods, which are more expensive,” Fall said.
At first, Fall bought his wood from a store in Minnetonka, until he realized he could get a better deal ordering it online.
The wood for one of his clocks cost Fall about $5,000 to $6,000. Fall likes to mix and match woods in his projects to enhance the quality and cosmetic appeal.
“For my sister’s wedding, I made a clock that used at least seven different kinds of woods. The picture that I made my mom, uses at least five,” Fall said.
The number of woods in one project, and the fact that they are exotic is exiting to Fall, because it makes them even more unique.
“It’s out of the ordinary. Most people don’t know there is purple wood and orange wood,” Fall said.
Fall estimates he has worked with at least 15 different types of wood.
As his projects got bigger, Fall discovered he needed to glue pieces of wood together to make the different floors for his clocks. However, he didn’t have the proper equipment to sand the pieces after they were glued.
“I called Dura Supreme and asked them if I could use their equipment,” Fall said. “It was very nice of them to let me come in and do it myself.”
Fall later became a master builder at the company.
But, Fall fully intends to use his talent for working with his hands in another avenue, to help people.
After graduating from Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School a couple years ago, Fall began college in Willmar at Ridgewater.
He is in his second year there, and in majoring in biological science.
“The reason I want to go into biological science is I’d like to take my woodworking and apply it to something to help people out. I’d like to become a dentist or a doctor, because I’ve got the hands for surgery,” Fall said.