Satisfied with his work, woodworker Jim Dellinger displays the fruit of his hobby at Harrisonburg's Farmer's Market.

Charlie Blair

Farmer’s Market carpenter works to spread his trade

July 18, 2019

Oliver Oakes

Retired carpenter Jim Dellinger sets up his shop for the second time at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market to sell affordable products that he carves out of wood. Even though woodworking can provide a good living, Dellinger’s goal is not to make money, but to spread his craft to the world.

 “Woodworking is a good trade, [but] it’s becoming a lost trade,” Dellinger said. “You don’t see the same amount of people doing work like I do now.”

Dellinger hand carves and crafts his products, which include cabinets, coat hangers, furniture, bowls and desks, all sanded and polished to perfection.

“With good tools and good materials, you’ll end up with a good product,” Dellinger said. 

Woodworking is a good trade, [but] it’s becoming a lost trade.”

— Jim Dellinger

Being retired, Dellinger has a lot of free time to work with his craft. This gives him the ability to be flexible with his time.

“Sometimes it takes a week to make [a piece] and sometimes it takes an hour,” Dellinger said. “It all depends on what I’m making.”

Dellinger grew up near Harrisonburg, but left for a job as a laborer in Washington more than fifty years ago. He worked in Washington building houses for a number of years. That’s when he discovered his love for carpentry. 

“I worked myself up and earned the carpentry trade,” Dellinger said. Carpentry often requires excellent hand-eye coordination, extremely precise movements, good listening and teamwork skills, and most programs will demand up to four years of experience.

After his days in Washington, he moved back to Harrisonburg, where he continues to work with wood as a hobby. Wanting to spread his work to the outside world, he sells his furniture at the farmer’s market in downtown Harrisonburg.

While the first few weeks are normally the hardest in creating a successful business, Dellinger has had a blast after his first two weeks in the Farmer’s Market, and plans to keep on setting up his shop every week.

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