HOLLAND, Vt. (WCAX) His big wooden bowls are a big hit with people from all around the globe. But this retired Vietnam vet does his Made in Vermont crafts all from a small cabin in the town of Holland.
Listening to 72-year-old Richard Long rattle off cities and countries written by tourists in his guestbook, you'd think he runs an inn.
"We've met some of the nicest people in world," Long said.
But it's not lodging that has made Long so popular, it's logging. Logging that leads to wooden bowls.
"As you can see, I like to do these large bowls," Long said. And each one tells a story. "You can actually see where it was tapped for sugar."
And the story starts in the woods of their 85-acre property, with sugar maple, black cherry, white ash and yellow birch trees.
"We love our woods," said Vera, Richard's wife. "We work on it all year."
Long Branch Wooden Bowls was her idea about eight years ago.
"She says, 'I think you can make them,'" Long said.
Vera leaves her mark on the bowls by signing them once they're complete. "We don't realize what's in the bowl itself until the very finish. When he puts the oil on it, the grain just comes to life," she said.
Long only uses walnut oil on the bowls so that they can be food safe. "I don't want to do what everybody else does, so I wanted to develop my own style, if you want to call it," Long said.
There's a lot of waiting that goes into the process. Once the bowls are cut and put into the lathe machine, they are stored in the workshop for about 18 months to dry out. Some of these bowls are about a year old.
"On my blackboard I keep count each month of what I'm doing," Long said. What he's doing is steady business in craft shows and fairs. "People who buy gifts for their grandkids."
"It has been a trip that has been well blessed, I can tell you," Long said.
And a round trip at that.