A love of woodworking turns into pastime for Spring Grove man

Jordan Gerard/SGH Jon Connelly holds the wooden model tractor he created. This tractor earned a blue ribbon at the Houston County Fair this year.

Herald File Photo Jon Connelly stands next to the farm model he created and submitted to the Houston County Fair. This model took Champion in the Super Class this year.
Jordan Gerard

For those who visited the Houston County Fair this year, a large farm model sat in the exhibitor's hall with a large Champion ribbon attached.

The model belonged to Spring Grove resident Jon Connelly who created the model from scratch.

"It's a good pastime," he said. "I've been doing it the last couple of years lately."

The base was built on plywood and first he made the farmhouse and then the barn. Connelly used a small Pringles can for the silos, cut doors in it and used a peanuts can for the grain bins.

He added other features such as trees, a barn cleaner in the barn, stacked firewood, calf huts and put a fence around the entire model.

It earned him a Champion ribbon in the Super Class, which is specified for individuals with mental, physical or intellectual challenges.

"You don't know what it's going to look like until it's done," he said.

A friend suggested taking that project and his others to the fair, so in addition to the farm model, he took seven other projects he created to the fair and each came home with a ribbon.

Connelly also enjoys making models of tractors like John Deeres and Farmhalls. He told the Herald he was once offered a price for one of his creations because people liked them so well.

He also made a model of a semi truck with a claw for picking up logs and putting them on a log truck. He made that for his friend, Duwayne Oakes.

Connelly has also created bulldozers, skidders and other equipment models. He also likes building bird houses.

"It takes a lot of sanding and cutting. I don't have any blue prints. It just comes straight out of my head," he said.

Usually Connelly starts out with a 2x4 piece of lumber and cuts the base piece about 3.5 inches wide by six inches long. After that he makes the frame and the motor.

He uses thin plywood to make the cab. After, he sands the wood and then paints the model.

Although it's a good hobby for passing time, sometimes the process can be frustrating like getting the steering right, so Connelly takes a break and goes for a walk.

"Different things work. I keep trying different ideas to see what works," he explained.

Currently, he is making models of hayracks that are pulled behind balers.

His experience comes from building a lot of furniture including coffee tables, end tables, cradles, beds and more. He'd also like to get his grandsons interested in the hobby.

"I'm going to keep making them," he said. "This is really a time passer. Time just flies by."