The gold standard of a woodworking case. Photo from Fine Woodworking magazine.
Below is a gallery of woodworking projects done by Mel Oakes and of some projects done by friends of his.
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I was priviladged to know a consumate craftsman, Arthur Nash Hale. He was a master model maker. Pat’s parents lived in a retirement home, Tryon Estates in Columbus, NC. Arthur and Ethyl Hale were good friends of theirs. During our visits we were privilege to see some of Art’s models which he had constructed over his lifetime. They were truly exceptional and deserving of a wider audience. While model building was a hobby, it also was a small business sideline for him. Aircraft and ship manufactures would hire him to make model replicas of a new craft to present as a gift to persons who were instrumental in the airplane or ship being constructed. Below are of a number of his projects, some created as a teenage; also shown are exquisite Nantucket baskets and handbags. Most of the pictures were taken during visits with Art and Ethyl. The first two pictures, ship and stagecoach, were kindly provided by his son-in-law Jim Horton. Art died in 2006 and we lost a master craftsman. I have included Art’s obituary below.
Arthur Nash Hale, 89, of Columbus died Sunday, March 12, 2006, at Tryon Estates.
He was a native of Stratford, Conn., the son of the late Arthur J. Hale and Margherita Holmes Hale. He was also preceded in death by two sisters, Madeline Nichols and Janet Cordts. He was a 1938 graduate of Tufts University with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a member of Tau Beta Pi, the honor engineering society. His work was in product design of industrial sewing machines. He was employed by Singer Manufacturing Co. for 14 years in Bridgeport, Conn., and 23 years with Union Special Corp. in Chicago, becoming vice president of research, development and engineering. His innovations were responsible for more than 50 U.S. patents, plus foreign equivalents.
During the Chicago years, the family lived in nearby Park Ridge. His civic service included board member and several terms as president of Community Concerts, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra and Park Ridge Public Library. He was co-founder of the Rhythm Club, a Big Band in the northwest suburbs.
Music, woodworking and model making were his hobbies. He was also known in retirement as an artisan of Nantucket baskets and handbags.
Survivors include his wife, Ethyl Hanford Hale; two daughters, Linda and R. James Horton of Sun Lakes, Ariz., and Martha and Martin McDonald-Swan of Columbus, Ind.; a son, Clifford and Cynthia Elswick Hale of Dunwoody, Ga.; grandchildren, Curtis and wife, Krista, Hale, Janet Horton, David and wife, Lori, McDonald and Christine and husband, Jonathan, Keller; and a great-grandson, Elliot McDonald.
Art constructed this model as a teenager. It is the “Sovereign of the Seas”, an American Clipper Ship, 1852. His father thought he might sell it to Franklin Roosevelt to finance his college education. He sent a picture to the Roosevelt, a sailing enthusiast, however he received the suggestion from the White House staff that it be donated. Fortunately he didn’t agree, later, many of Roosevelt’s model ships were lost in a fire. The original clipper ship was built in 1852 on speculation by Donald McKay, East Boston, MA. Launched from the shipyard of McKay June 19, 1852 the clipper ship was sold to Andrew F. Meinke of the ship broker firm Funch & Meinke, New York. Some details of this Clipper ship: Length: 258 feet, Beam: 44 feet, Depth: 25 feet, Speed: 18 knots, Cargo capacity: 2,420 tons.
A towering expanse of sails, a finely curved hull, and a hard-driving captain making full use of heavy winds produced record speeds which clipped days and even weeks from long runs and brought fame to "clipper" ships during and after their brief decade of greatness ending about 1858. With a favorable wind a clipper ship cold pass a steamer...
An overland stagecoach. with working brake. The model looks like a Concord Coach. In 1827, Downing and Abbot built their first coach, and they continued for the next twenty years to run a thriving and expanding business. By 1829 Boston was the hub of 77 stagecoach lines, by 1832 there were 106. Stagecoaches ceased operating between Boston and New York after steamships began running between New York and Providence.
Mel Oakes, Art Hale and Sarah Oakes with model coach made by Art.
Art and Ethyl with pie crust table made for Ethyl as an engagement present.
Back of Pie Crust Table
Art Hale’s Nantucket Handbag
Art Hale’s Nantucket Handbag-Open
Art Hale’s Nantucket Baskets
Nantucket lap writing desk, baskets and handbag.
Connecticut Stage Coach with original conch shell horn for alerting others of the presence of the coach.