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Dave Olson, Published June 28 2013

Moorhead woodworker finds pint-sized furnishings a perfect fit

MOORHEAD - Gil Gilbertson, 74, can trace his interest in woodworking to his stint in the military, a span of some 21 years during which he began making picture frames for people.

After leaving the military, Gilbertson worked for a time building cabinets for a construction company.

Later, he worked for many years as maintenance director at Eventide.

Now retired, the rural Moorhead resident devotes a good share of his time to woodworking, focusing his energy on making things like doll furniture and other miniatures.

Some of what he makes he gives to his grandchildren.

He also dabbles in selling his work, but he said the summer is a slow time for commercial aspirations, the holidays being a better time for selling small tables and chairs made by hand.

Gilbertson constructs his creations in a shop in the basement of his home, which he shares with his wife, Ingrid, whose dolls are sometimes called upon to model the miniature wooden chairs and baby carriages Gilbertson creates.

Gilbertson uses scraps of oak for most of his projects, though he’s been known to create items from wooden pallets.

“You’ve got to go as cheap as you can,” Gilbertson said.

His creations run the gamut from garden benches to rocking horses children can ride.

“I make all kinds of stuff,” Gilbertson said. “But what really interests me is the small woodwork, doll stuff.”

Still, that isn’t all he makes. And he’s been known to get a little silly.

Like the concrete stepping stone he likes to call “Bigfoot.”

Gilbertson said he made the oversized footprint based on a pattern derived from an outline of his own foot, which he then doubled in size.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555