A group of eight preschoolers from the Children’s Center became versed in the craft of log cabin building at Sandy Beach Park Tuesday morning.
Dave Nauman, self-described Petersburg Parks and Rec “Maintenance Dude”, has been working since July to reconstruct shelter one at the park.
He taught the kids about various tools used in cabin building such as a draw-knife—a double handled blade that cuts away the outer strips of a log.
After cutting away shavings, Nauman passed out the “Curly Q’s” to the kids and then asked for volunteers to assist him.
Seamus Davidson, 4, was the first to raise his hand.
“It takes a lot of practice,” Nauman said. “I’ve never done it four handed before.”
“Me neither,” Seamus replied.
But aside from Seamus, most of kids already knew about knives like the one Naumun brandished—because most of their dads had the tool and others like it back home.
After cleaning the log, Nauman showed the children how he measures each piece of timber before cutting notches—comparing them to Lincoln Logs and Legos.
“I have to draw what this log looks like onto this log so that I can cut it out,” Nauman said. “And the Legos snap together.”
Nauman then fired up his chainsaw and cut out and smoothed the notch as the preschoolers uniformly plugged their ears and watched the sawdust spray.
“I liked watching the chainsaw,” Stella Asplund, 4, said.
And when questioned about his favorite part of the field trip, Seamus replied, “Wood.”
Donnie Hayes, Parks and Recreation Director, said bringing the kids out to the park is a good opportunity for them to be involved with a piece of history.
“It’s an opportunity for them to say ‘I was a part of something. I was able to be here when Dave Nauman was building this. I was able to put my hands on the scribe and clean one of the logs that were used on this shelter’,” Hayes said.
The Civilian Conservation Corp, a New Deal program launched during the Great Depression, constructed the original cabin shelter in 1937.
It was then reconstructed in the late 1970s.
“Now it’s my turn,” Nauman said. “I’ve got the best job in town.”
Nauman gets laid off at the end of November and wants to get the structure erected by then.
He’s worked with logs on trail crews in California and helped build the Petersburg Mountain Trail.
The cabin reconstruction was identified as a parks and recreation capital improvement project priority and received state funding last year.