Mr. Woodworker

Ninety years and still going.

Eugene Maifield is a good example of “age is but a number.”

Maifield said he never takes a day for granted. Days to Maifield, simply known as Gene, are “gifts” to him. He said it’s a gift that never unwraps.

Now living on the northeast side of a small town in Butler County, Iowa, Maifield can be seen doing a variety of things in the town of Allison. Maifield said he enjoys fishing and gardening but one of his biggest loves is wood-working.

“As long as I keep busy, I’m happy,” Maifield said. “It’s something to take my frustrations out on.”

It’s been something Maifield has enjoyed doing his entire life. He started wood-working when he was young. Growing up on a farm near Allison, he would see old barns in the country being torn down and he didn’t want the wood to go to waste.

“You can’t find that kind of lumber now a days,” Maifield said.

The sound of a saw can be heard at the Maifield household and that can only mean one thing: Maifield is busy with a project.

It’s a new day for Maifield and there is work to be done downstairs.

“I wouldn’t call it work, it’s a fun hobby,” he said.

Maifield grabs some lumber and begins to take measurements. There is a wooden chair that needs to be “rebuilt.” It seems to be in good shape but in the eyes of Maifield, it needs to be worked on.

After some measurements are made, Maifield turns on the table saw and gets to work. The smell of freshly cut wood fills the basement as Maifield begins a new project. After cutting some pieces, he returns to his desk and begins to put the chair together.

Now the sound of drills can be heard. One-by-one Maifield drills in screws as his chair comes to life.

A few grumps and groans of discouragement can be heard during the process but when all is said and done, Maifield can add the chair to his collection of wood workings.

Maifeild said his favorite thing to make is small wooden chairs.

“The kids love to sit in them,” Maifield said. “They’re also cheap to make.”

Walking into his basement is like stepping foot into a small woodcraft store.

“It’s nothing much, just a few things I like to put together,” Maifield says with a hearty laugh.

From small birdhouses to outdoor furniture, Gene’s basement is filled with a variety of crafts.

His work can be seen at the county fair each summer and at local farmers’ markets.

Maifield’s wife, Deloris, said the wood-work keeps him busy. She said he does not like to sit around and do nothing.

“It’s his own world down there,” she said with a laugh. “It keeps him occupied but at his age he needs to remember not to overdo it.”

Maifield celebrated his 90th birthday in January and he said there is one piece of advice to pass along that he has learned over the last nine decades.

“Try to stay busy,” Maifield said. “But don’t do more than you have to, you might get tired.”

Though he gets tired from his wood-working from time to time, at 90 years old, Maifield said he does not have a lot of health problems. He is grateful for his good health and the wonderful people that surround him daily.

“It’s a blessing from the Lord to keep going,” Maifield said.

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