Man spends retirement laboring with lumber

Our Town 2019 - Tilton

TILTON, Ill. (WCIA) – A big chunk of this man’s business model is turning unwanted debris into artsy decorations.

This isn’t your traditional wood shop, but it’s a haven for Ted Byerly.

“It fills my time up…keeps me out of the taverns,” says Byerly, with a laugh.

You might think of retirement as a time to relax and take it slow, so you could say Byerly is going against the grain.

“I started off making a couple of rocking chairs for my grand kids, so from there I just kept doing other things,” he said.

His workshop has shelves full of wooden keepsakes, like bowls and tiny chests.

Byerly has a passion for turning one man’s trash into another man’s centerpiece.

“People call me and they’ve got a tree down or something or other. So I go get the tree and saw it up. I got a sawmill and a kiln to dry it. And I always make the people a bowl out of what they give me,” said Byerly.

With central Illinois’ luck, there’s no shortage of debris to work with. In the back of his shop….that’s quite clear.

“Tornado went through (Rossville), and he must have had 50 trees down maybe. About half of them were uprooted, and about half of them just broke off maybe 10, 12 feet in the air. And I got quite a few of them before we said no more,” he said.

That’s how Byerly’s hobby is kept well-rounded, in Our Town Tilton.

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