Craftsman gives away birdhouses
By Taylor Hale
While most people were either hunkering down for Easter weekend or on the road to visit family, John Johnson was hard at work at his home workshop on the corner of Meadow Street and Maria Drive in Stevens Point.
The local craftsman made 20 Easter-themed birdhouses to offer as a free gift to the public.
“I made 20 that I put out and gave out on Sunday morning,” Johnson said. “They were all gone within 45 minutes.”
Johnson’s wife, Cheri, encouraged him to make the festive gifts. He started working on the 20 birdhouses on Friday and finished by Saturday night.
“Making all 20 took around 10 hours. I have a system in place,” Johnson said.
The Stevens Point man started offering free birdhouses to the public last summer after the COVID-19 shutdowns and has made over 2,200. Johnson said that if COVID-19 didn’t cause nationwide closures, he probably wouldn’t have started his woodworking project.
“In the summer, I used to make 15-20 unpainted birdhouses each week and give those away each Sunday,” Johnson said. “I just wanted something to do and get my mind off of everything that was happening. I think it had a lot to do with my mental health.”
Johnson’s birdhouses didn’t just offer a therapeutic escape. Last July, the crafter made 22 Blue-Line and Red-Line themed houses in honor of police and firefighters.
“I actually sold 22 of those for $10 a piece, and I gave $220 to Lt. Jeremy Mueller of the Stevens Point Police Department,” Johnson explained.
Johnson is a retired real-estate agent with a passion for woodworking.
Johnson said the price of plywood has more than doubled since he started making his public gifts. He does accept donations for his work but noted that profit was never the point of his mission.
“I want to keep making more but I will have to do it less. It doesn’t look like I will be able to make another 2,200 this year,” Johnson laughed.
To contact Johnson, email [email protected]