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Thread: Woodworking in Paradise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Mendham, New Jersey

    Woodworking in Paradise

    As many of you know, Bob Hyde joined our group last week all the way from Exuma in the Bahamas. As you'll recall, he sent some pictures of a couple of impressive projects he'd made out of Ipe.

    As luck would have it, I happened to be in Exuma this week on a corporate boondoggle for my wife. Given the stranger-than-fiction aspect of the coincidence of Bob's post and my travel plans, I felt I didn't have any choice but to go see the man and discover a thing or two about woodworking in paradise.

    Bob was more than willing to let me poke my head in his shop. Like nearly everyone I've met in this hobby, he was a friendly and gracious host and was willing to share his experiences with me, even though we'd never met before.

    I have a bunch of pictures of Bob, his shop and some of his projects which I will post later after I've had a chance to recover from the all-day travel (Exuma is very close to Third World). However, I wanted to give you some of my insights while they were still fresh. I would've done so earlier, but the phones on Exuma have been out for the past three days, which also took out any Internet connection.

    To get to Bob's shop, I had to hire a driver as my wife's company strongly discouraged anyone from renting a car and driving themselves (a good policy, as it turns out). Exuma has some beautiful seascapes, but there are also miles and miles of desolate terrain. Suffice it to say that Bob's shop was about 10 miles past nowhere.

    Luckily, since there appears to be only one main road, my driver was able to find Bob's place without much trouble. Bob owns and operates a very nice fishing lodge called the "Peace and Plenty Bonefish Lodge". From what I could tell, the lodge appeared to be a larger-scale B&B catering to avid fishermen. The place was well kept and seemed to be well run. Bob's place has some interesting features, including a natural "fish tank" and a large outdoor deck that overlooks the Caribbean that he carved out of the sea by building a wall and then backfilling.

    Bob looks like a cross between Ernest Hemingway and George C. Scott. He "retired" down to Exuma about 12 years ago and has been running his place ever since. With about only 3,000 permanent residents, it seemed as though Bob knew everyone, including my driver.

    Bob's principal avocation is woodworking and it seemed to me that he was doing a pretty good job of using his woodworking as a means of avoiding any real work at the Lodge (I mean no offense, Bob, I'm speaking out of admiration). He has a really nice shop that is next door to the Lodge. I took a bunch of pictures which I will post along with the others.

    Bob's shop is open from end to end. His tablesaw outfeed table actually goes through a hole in the wall and continues outdoors. Another great thing was when he showed me how he would back a boat full of wood up from the sea and into the shop. If you ever wanted to get away from the hassles of hauling wood, go see his shop!!

    The shop had all of the customary tools and a few I'd never seen before. I couldn't imagine how he manages to get his tools, but he tells me that he gets them shipped by boat from Ft. Lauderdale. Must cost a fortune. He also said that there is only one lumberyard on the island and that all the wood is shipped in from Florida. Imagine how much he'd love to have some of Jim Becker's wood stash.

    The big problem he has is rust. His shop is only about 20 feet from the water and the humidity there must have been at least 75-80% the whole time I was there. He told me that he spends every Sunday cleaning rust off his tools. Even then, he can't really keep up with it all, and routinely replaces some of his smaller, less expensive tools when they rust out. I guess there is somewhat of a downside to living in paradise.

    The Lodge is full of examples of his woodworking. He's made dining tables for his restaurant, cabinets and bookshelves and various fixtures. He's got a number of pieces that were a combination if Ipe and Cypress which looked really nice. Some had a high-gloss lacquer finish and others were oiled and waxed. I have pictures of several of his pieces that are really quite beautiful.

    All in all, it was a great visit. I would think the dual allure of fishing and woodworking would be irresistable to many "creekers". If so, you should check out Bob's place at Maybe if enough people are interested, he'll offer a discount!!

    Look for the pictures in the next day or so.

    Last edited by Jack Hogoboom; 06-07-2004 at 9:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    Thanks Jack. We're looking forward to the pictures!
    Now go get some sleep!
    Please help support the Creek.

    When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

    - Steven Wright

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