Wood-turner’s creations come from sleepless nights
Pard Hosking is standing in his garage next to at least 20 Jorgensen clamps, beautiful sheathes of black walnut and Myrtle wood, a Shopsmith drill press, a wood lathe, a shop vacuum and an even larger vac called the Grizzly.
“These are all my tools,” Hosking says. “I bought the best. There’s no Sears or Montgomery Wards and I’ve never had any problems.”
Hosking walks around the back of the garage. A protective wood hangover keeps piles of more black walnut and Myrtle wood, his favorites, dry.
And on the side of the garage, there is wood galore.
Hosking says black walnut and Myrtle wood are the two prettiest woods. Each is unique in its own way and in its relation to Hosking.
First, black walnut is toxic. Hosking says if he were working with the wood and had a T-shirt on, black dust would still coat his skin. Second, he gets much of the black walnut from a fellow in Yuba City, Calif., who gives Hosking rifle stocks that “didn’t make it.”
If that is intriguing, Myrtle wood, also, has the same kind of unusual appeal.
It’s found in only Coos Bay, Ore., and Jerusalem, according to Hosking, The color can change within the same piece of Myrtle wood. Hosking has seen red and even green in Myrtle wood.
“It’s like Christmas every time,” he said. “I never know what I’m going to get.”
He also has pieces of tiger stripe Myrtle wood, with black streaks through the light colored wood. Hosking said he was told lightening causes the streaks.
Hosking is a wood turner. Since 1962, he has built pieces that he creates in his head at night and puts into action in the morning.
“I have no idea what I’m doing,” he said. “The tools take care of themselves. Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing.”
With more than 2,400 completed pieces, Hosking has made bowls, lazy Susans, card holders, and unique pieces that come out of his head, like a walker that helps kids learn to take their first steps. Built like a wagon, a stationary kid-height handle bar provides force to push against.
“They hold onto the back,” he said. “With a wood axle and wood wheels, it doesn’t take off on you. And then you can put a plant in it, and move it around.”
After Hosking completes a piece, his wife, Hazel, puts on the finish.
“There are nails on my left hand, but none on my right,” she says holding up her hands.
Hosking was raised in Virginia City, but moved to San Mateo when his dad was transferred there during World War II.
“I used to hang around with him,” Hosking said. “He would call me ‘Pardner.’ ‘C’mon Pardner, let’s go.’ That’s where my name is from.”
Later, Hosking became chief of police in Virginia City. He also served as a police sergeant for five years in Carson City.
Hosking’s pieces are affordable, and he sells out of his home, as well as two stores in South Lake Tahoe. Each piece is signed and numbered.
“I have more fun than the average person,” he says, sipping water from a short, clear glass. “I build for the accomplishment and beauty of it, to see how pretty I can make [a piece].”
Pard Hosking’s work is available at:
— The Emerald Bay Trading Company
— Rock Puppy in the South shore
— Call Pard at 882-0110