By Jack Petree, Wood-Mizer Contributing Author
When the Model T Ford Club of America decided to build a museum dedicated to “the car that put the world on wheels”, Richmond, Indiana seemed to be the perfect fit. A town lost in time, Richmond is one of the birthplaces of the early jazz movement, where jazz giants like Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, and King Oliver’s band with the young Louis Armstrong on the horn performed and recorded some of their first songs.
In the summer of 2017, over 5,000 visitors, many driving their own lovingly restored Model T Fords, celebrated the grand opening of the museum’s Vintage Garage Education Center.
“The Model T Ford Club of America is dedicated to keeping the heritage of the Ford Model T alive,” said Dan Conder. Dan is a Wood-Mizer sawmill owner and a member and past president of the Indy 500 chapter of the Model T Ford Club of America. “When the decision was made to create a working garage to provide training opportunities for people of all ages regarding the operation, repair, and restoration of vintage cars, we chose to finish out the work space with ash wood to give users the authentic feel of a vintage garage.”
The ash logs were donated, and Dan volunteered with his Wood-Mizer LT40HD to mill the logs into lumber for the garage.
“We’d done research on what the garage should look like to assure an authentic experience and we decided to use vertical board and batten,” explained Dan. The project took about a year to complete, with dozens of volunteers helping to mill and transport lumber, install that lumber over furring strips, cut and install trim work, and perform all the tasks necessary to create the look and feel of a garage that might have been built in the glory days of the Model T.
Today, the Model T Ford Club of America’s Vintage Garage Education Center truly does look as though it belongs in a flashback photograph of the early 1900s. The walls are lined with vintage tools, and visitors come from all over the country to learn about the heritage represented by the Model T.
“It has been well-received,” said Dan. “It was rewarding showing how we had gone from trees to finished walls.”
Dan’s project won first place in the Goodwill category of the Wood-Mizer Best Contest 2017.
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