Eye can see - "A Knot"

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Project by Karson posted 01-26-2009 09:07 PM 4168 views 5 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Back in my St Louis days when I had bought 20,000 Bd Ft of hard rock maple for 2 cents a Bd Ft at a salvage yard, I got into the business of making toys for children.

Click for details

Click for details

I also made toys for my children. This “Rocking Elephant” happened to be one of them. It was made around 40 years ago and has had a lot of miles put on it. Many of them were not expected.

He has been through 4 moves, plus a move out on our front porch where he sat for a couple of years. He was used by 6 of my children and many others, but he was also used for a saddle rack to store a riding saddle.

Somewhere in his travels he has lost his braided rawhide tail. He has picked up a few cracks and lost a few plugs covering the lag bolts. He was found at my daughters sitting outside and I put him in the moving van and brought him home. He has sat in the truck for the past two years. I figured one day I’d refinish him and restore him to usefulness for the grand kids.

Then came along the “A Knot Like No Other” contest and I knew just the entry. You see when I made this toy for my children and I was putting on finish I noticed something very special about him.

A real elephants eye

You see he was looking at me as I was doing the work. This was not designed by me, but was noticed in the middle of his face after it was all made.

I’ve always considered this a special toy and his longevity shows that. I’ll get him re-finished, because now he at least is in my shop closer to the sandpaper and finish. But, he’s not bad looking after 40 years.

He’s 45” long, 15” wide at the rockers, 12” wide at the back. All pieces are 2” thick stock and the back slats were resawed to 1/2” thick

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

27 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5557 days

#1 posted 01-26-2009 09:13 PM

Great story, Karson. Some of the neatest things in life seem to happen by accident.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5744 days

#2 posted 01-26-2009 09:37 PM

he’s beautiful Karson, looks just like an eye.
Still got a bunch of that wood? I use hardrock maple in my hat making tools.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5739 days

#3 posted 01-26-2009 09:40 PM

Mark I used some for the legs for my workbench and maybe I have 50-60 Bd Ft left. I sold a lot of it for 25 cents a bd ft when I moved out of St. louis.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Karrie's profile


15 posts in 5612 days

#4 posted 01-26-2009 10:15 PM

I love that elephant, and true to his nature – he weighs a TON! I cannot wait to see all the grandkids using him! We never did name him (that I am aware). Maybe everyone wants to chime in for an appropriate name.

-- Karrie

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5653 days

#5 posted 01-26-2009 10:20 PM

2 cents a board foot? Cute project.

View tinnman65's profile


1426 posts in 4753 days

#6 posted 01-26-2009 11:11 PM

40 years old! I think the little guy looks great, are you sure you want to refinish him? The Keno bros. from the Antique Road Show would be very disappointed :(

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View lew's profile


13488 posts in 5094 days

#7 posted 01-26-2009 11:48 PM


That is one cool elephant and the knot is perfect!!

Good Luck in the contest.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5499 days

#8 posted 01-26-2009 11:55 PM

and the eye sure does look like an elephant’s eye! very cool.

maybe his name is S-EYE-mon.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5245 days

#9 posted 01-27-2009 12:02 AM

2 cents a board foot…oh dear me…and I’m looking for hard maple for a workbench at HOW MUCH A BOARD FOOT!!! Thundaration, I’m jealous…but this is a fun project.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5638 days

#10 posted 01-27-2009 12:13 AM

When you say, “that’s my 2 cents worth,” you really mean it.
A cute little guy he is, but not so little.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4865 days

#11 posted 01-27-2009 12:59 AM

A Childerns book needs to be written of your story with pictures as true as the magic that is in him and you…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Allison's profile


820 posts in 5137 days

#12 posted 01-27-2009 01:39 AM

Oh my gosh I love elephants and I love this story. I also have a fascination about placing knots in appropriate places LOL!!!
Wow I don’t know after all this time if I would want to refinish him/her either. Of course thats your call, but after all those moves and all those kids, you obviously did one heck of a job on him/her LOL!!!
You will post it if you do refinish it won’t you?

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5739 days

#13 posted 01-27-2009 01:53 AM

I just posted a real elephants eye picture also.

Thanks for the support on him.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 5062 days

#14 posted 01-27-2009 01:58 AM

Looks great! I wish I could find those prices today, but I guess that is part of the past.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5585 days

#15 posted 01-27-2009 02:25 AM

Man Karson, you sure have a way of touching peoples hearts. I’d spiff him up a bit so he would last another 40 yrs
and have him around for the grandkids.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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