Paul Credle passes down love of woodworking

Published 11:38 am Thursday, December 22, 2022


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Tullahoma News in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Credle is originally from Washington. 

Paul Credle with the Tennessee Valley Woodworkers donates his many pieces of wood work to Toys for Tots every Christmas. However, his generosity goes beyond making sure less fortunate children have presents under the tree. Instead, he seeks to do something much more – pass down his love of wood working to the next generation.

“We have a hundred members of the Tennessee Valley Woodworkers, but most of us are older. Our average age is probably 65 years old,” he said of the need for a new generation of craftsmen to rise up and continue the wood working tradition, especially toy makers. “I think I’m the only one in Tennessee Valley Woodworkers making toys.”

For Credle, the love of wood work dates back before he was a teenager. “These were my father’s plans,” he said, noting the outline he uses for making the rocking horses he specializes in. “I make 10 or 12 of these each year.”

Credle has his own shop and is a retired US Navy executive, coming by way of the weapons department.

He came to Tullahoma in 1966 to work as an engineer and then moved to California and went to work for the Navy. However, he raised his two sons in Tullahoma, and when it came time to retire, they decided to come back to Tullahoma.

As for the toys themselves, he has been making them all his life. “I’ve made them in California, Pennsylvania and Virginia and here,” he said, adding that he has always donated his work to charity.

“I don’t do it for money. This is my golf,” he said. “I used it to take my mind off my day job. I’ve always enjoyed woodworking. You’re the boss.”

Credle reiterated the reason for his work nowadays is to spark interest in the next generation of wood workers.

“The purpose of this is to encourage young adults to go into woodworking,” he said. “It’s a very good hobby to have when you get home at night if you want to forget about your day job.”