You never know what kind of woodworker you might meet when out wandering the Hastings County countryside. Donald Vilneff of Maple Ridge Creations is a scroll saw woodworking artist. He works out of his workshop, located in the basement of his home off the beaten path near Eldorado. This is where he creates his custom scroll saw designs and artistic woodworking creations. Donald uses local wood to produce interesting and intricate pieces, including children’s toys, puzzles, games, picture frames, curio shelves, clocks, and all manner of home decor items. He also does custom work on commission, and is open to creating anything you can think of with wood.
It’s a good thing that Donald is surrounded by bush, as this setting inspires many of his creations. What he creates often depends on what he finds while traipsing through the bush: for example, candle holders made from a fallen staghorn sumac, or a decorative accent piece made from spalted birch, all beautifully finished with a clear varnish. He uses environmentally friendly finishes or leaves his work unfinished if clients would like to finish the pieces themselves, an important detail for his children’s toys.
Donald’s path to woodworking is an interesting one. After graduating in theology and working as a minister, he and his young family decided they wanted to move closer to where he grew up. So he moved his family back to this area and was casting about ideas when he looked at getting into blacksmithing. Of the different tools he needed for blacksmithing, there was one he wanted to make himself. To make this tool, he needed a scrollsaw. He found one, and in working with it, he found his new calling. Woodworker! And what a prolific and talented woodworker he has become!
Donald is getting very busy doing local craft shows and local markets, including the Marmora Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from May until October, and the Madoc Friday market.