Barco makes caned stools from fallen trees

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

For more than three decades, Greg Barco has shared his craft of making stools and caning at the Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair.

Barco and his wife, Elaine, will demonstrate their work at their booth at the 59th Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair this weekend at Knobbs Creek Recreation Center.

Barco said he has made thousands of stools since he first began his craft.

Utilizing at least 28 different kinds of wood over the years, Barco said currently he is using “mostly oak, walnut, cherry and cedar.”

Barco said his wood often comes from fallen trees.

“If anybody brings me a tree, I will make stools out of it,” said Barco.

A semi-retired farmer who farmed crops including corn, soybeans and wheat, Barco said he would find fallen trees after storms that he could use to create stools.

Barco lives in Shawboro, and he and Elaine have been married for 40 years. Barco said they both enjoy caning while sitting in their den watching television.

Barco makes stools, small rocking chairs, baskets and “all kinds of caning” for his business, Barco’s Refinishing and Caning Company.

Accumulating numerous chairs from auctions, Barco uses his caning skills to restore the seats of the chairs.

Barco said he makes seven, nine, 11, 15, 18 and 24 inch stools. He makes single, double and triple stools. Barco said many people use the triple stools at the foot of their beds.

The process of creating a stool begins with Barco building a frame. Barco said he weaves a herringbone pattern for the seat of the stool.

Instructing workshops in North Carolina and Virginia, Barco teaches participants his craft and the process for making stools and caning chairs.

Barco recommends polishing the stools he builds with furniture polish. He also advises if a seat in a stool becomes loose after years of use, spray it with water “a little bit” and set it in the sun which will “tighten it back up.”

Barco said he and Elaine look forward to participating in the Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair each year. One of the best aspects of the Fair is being able to communicate with other Albemarle Craftsman’s Guild members, according to Barco.

“We get to know each other,” said Barco.

Barco is a member of Providence Baptist Church. He and Elaine have four children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

For more information about the Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair, visit http://albemarlecraftsmansfair.com or the organization’s Facebook page.