Many are still searching for that perfect gift for Christmas, but why go anywhere else to find it. One of the many wonderful qualities of living in our community is that we have many options for gifts without having to leave town.

Billy Raymer provides just that. He is a local cabinet maker and fence builder but he uses the left over materials to design crosses. He uses all kinds of wood, fence pickets, barbed wire, gate operator chains, etc. He also designed crosses out of cedar logs by using only a chainsaw to carve it.

The little pieces left over from the jobs he works on would pile up. Raymer would rather find something to do with the scraps than just throwing them away.

“I’ve always liked tinkering with things,” he said. “I enjoy doing this and I’m surprised at how many I made in such a short amount of time. I also don’t like throwing away stuff that is good. I could take the metal to a scrap yard, but the wood would end up in a dumpster.”

Raymer doesn’t change much of the shape of the wood when he makes the crosses. He cuts them and fashions them together to keep them sturdy. He’ll then either stain and lacquer the crosses or just put a lacquer coat on it to show the natural detail in the wood.

“I like the wood that has character to it. I just want them to look at different,” Raymer said. “Most people want what somebody else has. I could mass produce them to look all the same, but I can custom make them as well.”

He also makes coolers out of old wood he tears down from different jobs. He can custom build each cooler to fit a particular style. He also hand makes washer boards and wood benches.

“I didn’t want to be one dimensional,” Raymer said. “The more you can do, the better you are. I like doing stuff like this.”

Even though Raymer has been working with wood for many years, he just started making the crosses this year. “We got slow at work and thought we needed to do something with our time,” he said.

Making the crosses doesn’t take too much time because he already owns the tools he needs for his cabinet and fencing businesses. He was able to make about forty crosses in approximately three days.

The design on each cross requires a certain amount of time, depending on the design work.

“I’ve always had a decent amount of artistic ability: painting, drawing, etc.,” he said. “I strive for perfection [with my job and the things that I do].”

Prices for the crosses range from $35 to $65.

He hasn’t been able to spend much time advertising, “word of mouth is everything.”

To have Raymer custom design a cross, or to purchase one he has already made, please call him at 409-988-3177.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers