By Sean Barron
Eleven-year-old Brooke Buckley’s introduction to carpentry could benefit her one day, but for now, it likely will bring another dimension of pleasure and happiness to Martha Carr.
“I don’t see her as much as I want to, but we’re still pretty close,” the Salem girl said about Carr, her great-grandmother who celebrates her 90th birthday today.
As a gift, Brooke, a Southeast Middle School sixth-grader, gave Carr a wooden birdhouse she helped to assemble during Saturday’s third annual Red, White and True Festival at Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, 7060 Crory Road.
The free, family-oriented all-day festival celebrated American craftsmanship and featured at least 12 local and regional vendors, many of whom held home-improvement demonstrations, noted Matt Baird, plant manager and event organizer.
The event also featured open-house tours and was “a good opportunity to give back to the community,” Baird said.
With a little help and encouragement, Brooke glued a few dowel rods to two pieces of wood before hammering a few nails to secure the top of the birdhouse. The project also required a bit of sanding, said Brooke, an animal lover who hopes to be veterinarian.
Also undertaking a similar effort was her 8-year-old sister, Madison Aikens, a Crestview Elementary School second-grader who also loves animals and birds.
Accompanying the girls were their parents, Dan and Susie Aikens.
Somewhat more complex home-improvement efforts included demonstrations on installing baseboards, rails, interior doors, crown molding and hardwood flooring, courtesy of Jon Ulicney and Lee Lipply.
“My dad had me in the [wood] shop when I was this big,” recalled Ulicney, of Canfield, as he held his hand about 3 feet high.
At one point, several attendees watched as Lipply, of Columbiana, used an electric compound-miter saw to cut pieces of poplar hardwood while Ulicney carefully measured and placed the pieces, forming baseboards.
Earlier, Ulicney had built a set of 5-foot bookshelves and several woodpecker houses. The bookshelves took the 42-year woodworker about an hour, he said.
Many people who wanted advice on enhancing, altering or changing the look of their stairs probably left with new ideas from Jim Stingel, a salesman with Bowerston, Ohio-based L.J. Smith Stair Systems, which was established in 1885 and is said to be the nation’s largest stair-parts manufacturing company.
Among items the Dover, Ohio, man had on hand were small level kits that make it easier for people to install iron balusters or replace wooden ones. The kits offer five instructions that simplify the previous time-consuming process of drilling Ω-inch holes and gluing square balusters into the round holes, Stingel explained.
“The average homeowner can do it now,” he added.
Other attendees seemed intrigued by the display of high-tech deadbolt locks and doorknobs that Jude Kundla and Eugene Schneider were selling.
One such item was a $290 Kevo lock that can be accessed and controlled with a smartphone. Another sophisticated lock has the capability to hold up to 19 codes and allows homeowners to track activities in their residences online after downloading certain applications, noted Kundla, who works for B&B Wood Products of Cleveland.
“You’re able to control your house from anywhere you are and from where you can get connected,” he said, adding that the technology likely will reduce the number of break-ins.
Several deputies with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department offered children of all ages Identi-Kits, which are law-enforcement tools to keep youngsters safe.
Children’s fingerprints and voice samples were taken, and they filled out a descriptive questionnaire that asked their height, weight and a battery of other characteristics. The youngsters’ information was placed on compact discs that their parents took home and that can be accessed in case of an emergency.
Several children also enjoyed meeting Mercy, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois and member of the sheriff’s department. Among them were Benjamin Herrmann, 8, and his 5-year-old brother, Daniel Herrmann, who came with their parents, Daniel and Amy Herrmann.
The fest also offered children’s entertainment such as clowns, cash-and-carry specials and prize giveaways, with a grand prize of $1,000 worth of new hardwood flooring.