Retired Caledonia jeweler Charlie Bubbers has focused his creativity on honoring veterans and the U.S. military branches in a special way. Using a scroll saw, he has cut 16 military emblems, some military themed, on white oak discs that are now on display at the Vets Club in Caledonia.
The finely detailed 10 inch diameter pieces took about 16 to 18 hours each to saw on a scroll saw.
“The Merchant Marine emblem was the most enjoyable. It took me four tries to get it right,” Bubbers said. There are 11 service branches and I’ve come to appreciate their special design. There is the Forgotten Soldier with the phrase, “God Bless our Troops” and the POW/MIA plaque, The American Legion emblem as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars emblem. Bubbers said the one that means the most to him is the one that says, “The Home of the Free Because of the Brave.”
Bubbers credits his carpentry skills to his dad, Carl. “When I was 15 my dad would take me with him when he was doing jobs at night. I would work with him,” he recalled. “Shortly before I retired, my friend Tank Schroeder showed me some of the work he had done. I tried it on a little saw for awhile and went and bought a large commercial scroll saw.”
Charlie does a lot of work for people now that his skill has become known. “You have to be patient,” he said in an understatement. “You have to be steady.”
Charlie served in the Army from 1965 to 1967. “My parents were surprised I joined the Army and were even more surprised when I volunteered for Vietnam.” He reached the rank of Sergeant shortly after reaching Vietnam and was a squad leader of four scouts. The Legion and the VFW welcome people to come in and see the display case.