Smoke, a lamp by Hyrum Baker
My son, Hyrum, and I made this lamp together. For his first lamp project, in 2014, he chose a difficult piece of wood, which required drilling with long bits at awkward angles. We rescued this Russian Olive root, standing about 36 inches tall, on a firewood cutting expedition. Encrusted with mud, Hyrum worked for weeks to clean and sand the wood, filling the cracks with putty, and staining: he chose Sedona Red. The putty didn’t stain well, so we used a matching barn-red paint to cover the still-pale putty, then stained over the dried paint, all for a rich rusty red result. I am particularly proud of Hyrum, aged 12 at the time, for this excellent piece of artwork that happens to also be a lamp. (I helped a little, of course.) He named the lamp Smoke. We suggest the value of this lamp to be $650 or more, depending on the market. It is waiting to be taken to the perfect home.
Here is Hyrum pictured recently sitting at the bench of a federal district court judge during a recent scouting expedition for the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge.
After visiting the courthouse and other state and federal buildings, we enjoyed sandwiches at the Boston Deli, a downtown Salt Lake City lunch spot featuring jazz vinyl records, instruments, and music.
Working with natural wood has always been a source of pleasure and camaraderie for my sons and me. On hikes we often spy gnarled driftwood or twisted tree roots that would make beautiful lamps. We decided to make a number of these lamps and sell them to fund our way to the 2013 and 2017 National Boy Scout Jamborees. For those unfamiliar with the Jamboree, it involves ten days touring the historic sites of New York City, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, Mount Vernon, and Washington D.C., then ten days at a high adventure camp in the mountains of West Virginia. About 40,000 scouts attended the 2013 Jamboree. Here is a picture of our troop’s camp area.
Pictured above are myself (one of four troop scoutmasters), my sons John and Caleb, and my nephews Thomas and Todd (four of 36 scouts in the troop), posed before a reconstructed winter quarters cabin at Valley Forge.
We hope to make Baker Brothers Lamps a successful going concern. But in the meantime, we are learning skills and making memories together. Each post on the Rabbit Lane: Woodcraft page will feature one lamp or other woodcraft project created by my sons and myself, pictured here on September 11, 2011, before attending Sandy City’s 10th anniversary commemoration of the World Trace Center attacks.
(Lamp by Roger and Hyrum Baker-2014)
We may think that as parents we have plenty of opportunities to shape and affect the lives of our children. And we would be right. But some opportunities, when missed, cannot be recaptured. They are lost, and we cannot know what we have missed or how we may have helped another. The best we can hope is that we won’t miss the next indispensable opportunity. This poem is about opportunities gained and lost, and hints at the need for making a commitment to make the most of them when they arise. Our children need us.
I lay on my back
and wondered if I should
go to his room,
where his light still shone,
and talk to my son,
a young man.
I lay on my back and wondered.
I lay on my back and thought.
But when I at last arose,
I found his light too soon turned off.
(Note. This poem is not about suicide. But it could be. If we suspect that our child is depressed or sad or lonely or wanting to take their own life, we need to take a moment to reach out, to express love and support, and to ask the hard questions that will help pave the way to safety. QPR training–Question, Persuade, Refer–is a useful tool for all.)