After he retired 10 years ago from Warren Printing at age 62, Cortland resident Angelo Sgambati said he needed to find something to do.
Although he had started some woodworking projects before he retired, he did not have the time he does now to spend hours in his workshop in his garage building everything from miniature firetrucks to a nearly 5-foot-tall model cathedral.
Sgambati places some of his woodworking projects, which include boats, tractors and carousels, on a shelf in the family room of his home.
The hobby has grown in the past 10 years to include carousels, trains, tractors, a Ferris wheel, fire engines and boats. Toy trains were the first of more than 50 items he has made.
"Some have plans to follow that tell you how to make something. There are many I just built on my own,'' he said.
The most time-consuming project was a cathedral that took a year to complete. It recently was displayed at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church.
"It has a dome on it and was a lot of work. You have to have patience to do something like this. There is a lot of close, tight work, and sometimes you can do two pieces at a time, but usually just one. It depends on how small it is," Sgambati said.
The cathedral includes windows, clocks and decorations.
While the cathedral took the most time, Sgambati said the most challenging piece was a carousel. He had no plans but knew he wanted to build it with a motor in it so it would move.
The carousel had ceramic horses and swans, which his wife, Louise, helped to paint.
"Some of the projects I start and then begin to realize how much work is involved. I often ask myself what have I gotten myself into. I thought the cathedral would never get done,'' Sgambati said.
Sgambati said he likes creating buildings and vehicles from wood, and he avoids crafting people. He did create a few wooden animals and sea life.
Louise Sgambati said her husband's work is displayed on tables and shelves in almost every room in the house.
''The only room where only my things are is the bedroom,'' she said.
Angelo Sgambati said when he displays items, people often ask what kind of wood he uses. He said he uses a combination of black oak and walnut on some projects. He said he prefers to use hard wood such as black walnut, hard maple, cherry and oak, since they don't break as easily when cut into small pieces.
"Black walnut, if cut wrong, shreds and breaks on you,'' he said.
"I cut my own wood from trees that are down. I don't buy any wood," he said.
Sgambati goes to his shop area each morning.
"Sometimes I am out there four to six hours working," he said.
His work is often displayed at artisan events.
"Now that I am retired I have the time now to do this. It's like going to work doing something I like,'' he said.