(EDITOR'S NOTE: Each Monday, the Sun-Gazette asks somebody in the area, "What's on your mind?" If you have a topic you would like to share, contact Alyssa Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org; Savannah Dempsey at email@example.com; or Philip A. Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
"I'm thinking about what everyone's thinking about - work," said a man who describes himself as half here in Williamsport and half in New York.
Michael Baltzer began working with wood because of his love for old tools, such as chisels and clamps. After many years, he started thinking about what he made and decided to work professionally.
Over the 32 years he worked with wood, he has done more than 400 projects. At any time he will be working on several projects at once and thinking about even more.
"Before I get out of bed in the morning, I think about solutions," Baltzer said. "I visualize how I would proceed on what needs to be accomplished that day."
Currently he is working on three regular-sized projects and two small ones. He has bids out, about a half dozen, but he knows he won't get everything he bid on because the economy has slowed people from commissioning projects.
"It hasn't hurt me," Baltzer said. "It allowed me to tie up a lot of loose ends."
Everything has a positive outcome, even in downtime, whether it gives people an opportunity to spend time with their families or to find balance in their life.
"Everything will always be fine," he said.
While technology has advanced on woodwork, Baltzer sticks with the classic way of doing it because his clients prefer something that is not mass produced.
"Everything we make is specific to where they live or work," he said. "It's very pretty. It's very unique."
There is no average time for a project because all of them are so different. Even a small project can take a long time because it could have many details in it.
Each project also gives him an opportunity to try something new. His clients often want something innovative that will get them recognition.
"It oftentimes is a challenge to make a tangible product," Baltzer said. "I'm always learning new ways to do that."