George Bone’s interest in the craft of refurbishing old walking sticks started when he and his brother, Charlie, were searching for antique tools in Oracle. Restoring old hand tools that he found at auctions had previously been George’s hobby in Indiana and he had owned quite a collection, but gave most of them away when selling his house. After moving to SaddleBrooke he decided to continue that former hobby and visited Oracle, seeking a source of antique tools. He found what he wanted in a secondhand shop and purchased a few tools, but during a second visit to the shop an old walking stick took his attention. He purchased it for 50 cents. During a third visit, he purchased two more old and dirty walking sticks, which he refurbished for his wife’s daughter and son-in-law, who were hikers and who suggested that he ought to sell such items. These days, George uses mostly Saguaro cactus ribs and Yucca plant poles. He cleans, sands, wood burns, stains, varnishes and decorates them.
George began displaying his walking sticks in the Gift Shop in 2015. He then expanded into making picture frames, signs, military plaques from old barn wood and a host of other carved wood items. He uses standard woodworking tools such as a table-saw, a wood lathe, scrolling and band saws, together with various finishing products such as paints, oils, leather bindings, carving and wood-burning. He gets great satisfaction from designing and creating something from nothing.
George was born and raised in Gary, Indiana where he graduated from Lew Wallace High School and received a BA degree in Business Administration from Valparaiso University in 1961. He entered the insurance business as an underwriter and field sales representative for ten years before being invited to serve as an agency manager by the owner. Eventually, he and another employee purchased the business from which he retired in 2015. George also spent 26 years with the Army Reserve and retired as Lieutenant Colonel.
He and his wife, Linda, have been married for six years and were snowbirds in SaddleBrooke from 2012 until 2015 when they moved permanently to The Preserve. They chose SaddleBrooke because of its natural beauty; also, because they had relatives and other Indiana friends living here. Since moving to SaddleBrooke, they have returned twice to their roots in Indiana and Chicago and have also visited Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Pennsylvania and California.
George enjoys the friendship of other Gift Shop artists and is always pleased to spend time with potential customers in the shop. He says that being retired means keeping busy with whatever one wants to do. In addition to woodworking he plays golf and card games. He likes to read and relax in the spa and visit the fitness center. His philosophy is to try something new and enjoy life to the fullest with family and friends.