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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Woodworkers at Timber Arts are true craftsmen

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jim Crosbie built this intricate mantel several years ago for a customer. Owner of Timber Arts, Crosbie and his son Jake are master craftsmen.
BAINBRIDGE -- For over 30 years, Jim Crosbie has used his talent as a woodworker to create beautiful pieces of practical art. From spiral staircases to German music boxes Crosbie is a master at his craft.

Joined by his son Jake several years ago, the two work out of their shop called Timber Arts located just outside Bainbridge near the Rolling Stone Covered Bridge, bordering on the Big Walnut Nature Preserve.

Jim grew up in the Broad Ripple area in Indianapolis. Both he and his wife Becky graduated from Broad Ripple High School, a school and community known for its arts and crafts.

"I liked building things even as a little kid. I made crosses for my grandmother and a footstool for a doctor," said Jim.

He worked for a woodworking company for several years before opening his own shop. He moved with his family to Bainbridge after finding the perfect location for his shop and house.

Timber Arts is equipped with up to date production equipment as well as special equipment used in exterior restoration like gingerbread work or curved moldings.

"We can usually match just about any request. From chest pieces to porch pillars, we've done all kinds of work," said Jake.

"We've made moldings, doors, cabinets, columns, newel posts and balusters. We've even reproduced pieces for century old German boxes for a collector. They are in a Japanese museum now," he added.

The two men have jointers, planers, many different saws, lathes, molding machines, tennons, dovetail machines and numerous hand tools.

They do a lot of work in downtown Indianapolis for homeowners and builders working in restoration and preservation of historic buildings.

One of their stairwells is in the Tomlinson House in Eagle Creek. Westinghouse bought the home, restored and moved it. It is now owned by a private individual.

"We've done lots of homes on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. We restored some beautiful pillars in a home in Union City. We even created a matching door for one of the rooms in the Putnam County courthouse," said Jim.

"We worked in a home here called Airy Knob and matched moldings, made stair parts and other pieces. We do a lot of that kind of work," he added.

Timber Arts is known for the staircases they build. From spiral to curved stairs and balconies in all types of wood, the two men are highly skilled at creating spectacular showcases in homes of all types.

They mostly work with domestic timbers and Indiana wood whenever possible. Among the types of wood they used are white and red oak, walnut, cherry, yellow poplar, white ash, maple and some exotics.

"People come to us with an idea and we draw it out, sometimes sculpt it and then create it in miniature. It helps for them to actually see a three dimensional version," said Jake.

"We do a lot of unusual pieces. We made the pen light sign that hangs on the wall of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity at DePauw," he added.

A job like a staircase takes three to four weeks to build in the shop, then depending on how much balcony is involved it takes another two to three weeks to finish and install.

Costs for their projects can range from a couple of hundred dollars to $50-60,000 depending on the job.

"Once we get in a house and start something, people say, 'Can you do this or that?'" said Jim.

"We worked on a house near the observatory and started with cherry bookcases then added paneled doors and a mantle," he said.

Timber Arts also makes a lot of contributions to local historic properties. They have repaired a beam and siding on the Rolling Stone Covered Bridge as well as matched some moldings for it.

They added a new roof, doors and shutters for the Hall Cabin in Hall Woods preservation in northern Putnam County. They donated all the work and wood.

"We're able to do most any type of woodwork. We take a lot of pride in our work and are very passionate about it," said Jim. "We try to communicate with our customer and develop a relationship with the person to make sure we provide what they want," said Jim.

"We tell people, 'Grab a pencil and draw out what you want us to see.' Sometimes it's hard, but we keep working at it until we get them what they want," he said.

To see photographs and videos of the Crosbies' work visit the Banner Graphic's Marketplace and type in Timber Arts. You can watch these professionals actually creating some of their art.

Timber Arts is located at 3057 E. C.R. 800 N near Bainbridge. Reach them by calling 522-4121, by e-mail art2@tds.net or on their Web site at www.timerarts.net. Visitors are welcome at their shop but it's best to call for an appointment before visiting.

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