Sequim Gazette staff
Those looking for a little all-natural pest control this summer should turn to Jim Tucker.
Tucker, who retired from the U.S. Air Force many years ago, now keeps himself busy in his little workshop handcrafting all sorts of wood works, including vast birdhouses designed as homes for dozens of swallows.
Tucker likes swallows because “They’re bug eaters. They take care of our mosquitoes,” he said.
In addition to serving as custom-built swallow homes, the birdhouses also serve as a wonderful esthetic addition to any backyard.
Tucker said the birdhouses also are designed to keep the murderous starlings out, ensuring the baby swallows grow up strong and healthy.
Those seeking a standard birdhouse will find one more anomaly: Most of Tucker’s houses lack an exterior perch. Tucker stopped adding them when he learned they aren’t needed and that they aren’t particularly good for the birds.
He was told to leave them off by someone, a seemingly casual shopper, who was taking a gander at his work. Tucker did a little research on the fella and discovered he was listening to a world-famous ornithologist.
That was that, Tucker said.
Entry and exit is no problem: The swallows “hit the their hole head-on,” Tucker said with a smile.
‘I live in this workshop’
Birdhouses are just the beginning.
Tucker also handcrafts ornamental wells, custom frames and much more.
He works mostly with cedar and pine but he also uses “found art,” including driftwood and fallen limbs, to add special flourishes. For example, he will take an ordinary branch of weathered wood and slice it at an angle into thin, oblique medallions. When applied to one of his works the pieces provide a touch of sophistication.
To enhance the visual appeal of the pieces, he often burns the wood with a torch.
Tucker says it’s “just a hobby — something I do to keep me busy.”
It certainly does: “I pretty much live in this workshop,” he said. “I spend eight to 10 hours a day here.”
Even though it’s just a hobby, Tucker isn’t averse to making a buck, saying he sells his work at the Pumpkin Patch in Sequim, the Chimacum Senior Center’s flea market and at the Open Aire Market through the summer in Sequim.
Tucker, also keeps a big inventory at his home.
To contact Tucker, call 683-2458, or call Judy Fackler, who lends an ear, at 360-477-8192.