Skip to main content

Carving Out a Niche at The Forest

Cats, dogs, elephants, giraffes, turkeys, squirrels, dolphins, sharks, cows, and owls… What do these animals share in common? Here at The Forest, they’ve each been carved out of wood scraps and lovingly painted or left to a natural finish by resident Lloyd Redick.

Dr. Redick is one of a few residents who actively work in the woodshop on campus. In addition to his figurines, which are especially popular with his children and grandchildren, Dr. Redick has built a number of larger pieces, including a ramp for his granddaughter, which leads up to her garden shed. He’s also created artistic pieces for one of his daughters’ mantel, based on pictures she admired in a magazine.

Furthermore, he’s fashioned birdhouses, three of which are found here at The Forest at Duke. One is affixed to a tree just outside the pool, another is found outside of Wing D, and still another is located down by the swamp. Dr. Redick built these to replace previous ones whose wood was rotting and falling apart.

Using his skill, he’s worked to finish three basements and has otherwise been involved with some construction ideas and projects at his church. He supervised a renovation of a fellowship hall and was very involved in the makeover of a kitchen and dining area. Additionally, he took part in consulting with construction in a couple of hospitals.

Big differences between crafts

Forest resident Lloyd Redick is a talented woodcarver and woodworker. (Photo by Lauren Young)

Dr. Redick is happy to define his craft and others’ for the layman. Referring to carpentry and woodworking, he explains, “They are not synonymous. Carpentry refers more to building construction. Woodworking can be anything from making furniture to various odds and ends. Figurines are [considered] woodcarving.” Dr. Redick does a bit of both woodworking and woodcarving, depending on the project at hand.

“Throughout my life, I’ve been more of a ‘2×4’ kind of workman, but I don’t have that much ‘2×4’ kind of work to do anymore!” he laughs.

History in the making

Dr. Redick developed his knowledge of woodworking quite honestly. Born and raised on a farm in northwestern Ohio, he learned many things as a child. “We did a lot of construction on our own,” he recalls about his childhood outside Findlay. “Back on the farm, we had a couple of barns burn down, and we rebuilt.”

As he grew older, established a career, and moved to new places, Dr. Redick continued to grow in experience and skill. Beginning in June 1957, he served in the U.S. Navy, completing a residency in anesthesiology at Bethesda Naval Hospital in 1963; he further served at Great Lakes Naval Hospital until 1965. Afterward, he joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky for nearly nine years, finally settling at Duke University Medical Center, where he worked in anesthesiology from 1974 until his retirement.

New passion discovered

A Forest resident since 2007, Dr. Redick found himself intrigued when he observed a former resident carving wood the old-fashioned way. The resident, who worked with a chisel and other such tools, requested assistance with a project, and Dr. Redick was happy to lend a hand. This experience spurred his interest in woodcarving.

Soon, Dr. Redick learned more of the tricks of the trade and found that he especially enjoyed using a Dremel rotary tool. This device allowed him to sand, drill, carve, and cut the wood as he pleased. Today, the Dremel remains his favorite tool to use for manipulating wood scraps to his liking.

A little history lesson

Having the woodshop on campus has proven to be a wonderful thing over the years, though it predates Dr. Redick’s time at The Forest. The building was completed in early 1993. The woodshop was originally located in the Community Center basement, before moving to the area across from the Health Center where it stands today.

The Forest at Duke purchased much of the major machinery and a few of the smaller, handheld tools in the woodshop; a lot of the other available tools were donated by residents. Upon its completion, the woodshop was used jointly by team members for some of the carpentry involved in cottage and apartment renovation, and residents utilizing the tools for their own projects. This continues to be the case today.

Toys for children, scraps for builders

A woodworking committee came together early in Forest history. In addition to other projects, the group planned for the construction and placement of benches along campus walking paths. Beginning in 1995, the dedicated woodworkers produced wooden toys for donation to the Salvation Army, Durham Rescue Mission, and the pediatric unit at Duke University Medical Center. This tradition repeated itself every holiday season, ending in 2007 when interest in the toys waned and fewer woodworkers participated in building and painting them. Today, pieces of those projects – plans, wheels, and a miscellany of other bits and bobs – remain in the woodshop.

Dr. Redick carved his initials, “TFAD” (The Forest at Duke), and the year on the bottom of this business card holder he crafted. (Photo by Lauren Young)

But that’s not all that can be found. Wood scraps in the shop are left over from wood bought by Forest residents and team members to complete their projects. It’s from those scraps that Dr. Redick takes what he needs for his own work. “I’m a firm believer in repurposing scrap wood,” he explains. “I haven’t purchased any wood for about two years.” He enjoys making things that will be useful to others or might bring them a smile.

Showcasing his talent

Over the years, Dr. Redick’s talent has only grown. He makes many things for others, but he doesn’t give everything away. “There are a couple of pieces I’ve made that I’ll keep,” he smiles. “I plan to keep them as long as I’m able to enjoy them.”

When he’s not working on his latest wooden design, Dr. Redick enjoys attending concerts in the auditorium, watching movies, and playing pool with several other Forest residents. Some of his woodcarving creations are on display in the art studio window, and he previously participated in a craft and hobby expo on campus. Lots of people appreciated his handiwork at that event, and he sold a few pieces to fellow residents.

Finding community at The Forest

As much as he loves working in the woodshop and creating both beautiful and practical pieces for himself and others, Dr. Redick hopes that interest in the shop and in woodwork grows. In the meantime, though, he enjoys sharing his hobby with a couple of other residents who also make regular use of the woodshop.

After being part of the Forest community for 12 years, Dr. Redick celebrates many aspects of his life here: “Friends. Friendliness. The fact that I don’t have to mow the grass, rake the leaves, cook,” he chuckles. “That’s why my wife and I moved here. Everything I need to be content is here at The Forest. It’s just a nice, pleasant place to be.”

—Lauren Young, Marketing Specialist

Header image: These colorful, whimsical figurines are among Dr. Redick's woodcarving
specialties! Many of these live in the art studio window at The Forest. (Photo
courtesy of Lloyd Redick)
Explore the blog