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Jekyll Island resident bounces back from accident by taking up wood carving

Here at The ToolPost (, we will always passionately believe that wood carving can help to dramatically improve lives for the better. This is one of many reasons why our hearts have been warmed by a recent news story about a resident of Jekyll Island in Georgia, United States, having recovered from a terrible accident and much time in surgery to find great success and a new career as a wood carver.

Bill Johnson, now 78, has performed well in wood carving competitions in recent years, having amassed plaques, trophies and certificates in several art contests, including a best of show in a 'Georgia Artists with DisAbilities' contest. His carvings that have attracted particularly flattering attention have included models of a three-masted frigate and a pileated woodpecker.

All of this success in woodcarving has helped to ensure that Johnson lives a much happier life now than he did a few years ago, when he was involved in an accident which broke his back and left him wheelchair-bound and in pain during the occasional times that he attempted to walk. Back then, he worked as a government pilot, but, as Johnson reveals: "They took my airplanes away from me. They took my boats away from me."

The turnaround in his life began when he visited a meeting of wood carvers, one of several successful arts and crafts groups on Jekyll Island. Following his experience with the retirees there, he successfully carved out of wood a cane with a cardinal handle for a neighbour - who, according to Johnson, "was just thrilled to death with it". Many more requests for his work followed, and he later started selling his work, which, as he explains, "pays for saw blades".

Even people at the hospital where he spent time in surgery have gushed about his wood carving, having claimed that his skills were like those of a brain surgeon. However, he never would have even spent time in that hospital had it not been for his accident, which occurred when he was returning home in his wife's Tahoe following his speech at a luncheon in Greenville, S.C. A woman in a station wagon run through a traffic signal and was instantly killed upon her vehicle's collision with Johnson's. As he explains, paradoxically, she "ruined my life, but in a way she didn't."

We at The ToolPost ( are delighted that Johnson has turned around his life so well and hope that many other people will be inspired by his example. Indeed, we could imagine many people, whether or not they have suffered as much as Johnson, dramatically improving their lives by taking up wood carving, woodturning and woodworking with the help of wood turning tools, woodcarving tools and other equipment and products like those that we stock here at The ToolPost.

Editor's Note: The ToolPost ( is represented by the search engine advertising and digital marketing specialists Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Louise Byrne. Email: or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.

1997-2010 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice