Another Bob project

Susan Manzke
Bob Manzke delivers handmade Boomwhacker stands to CP Fox Cities much to the delight of  Laura Neubert (left) and Whitney Bouchard.

The phone rang a couple weeks ago. Caller ID announced it was our daughter Rebecca so I immediately answered it.

Rebecca barely said hello before asking, “Is Dad there?” This is rare. Except for Bob’s birthday and Father’s Day I’m usually the one who talks on the phone with our children. But not today. I was extremely curious what our daughter wanted. I handed the phone to her dad before asking what was up.

It turned out that Rebecca wanted Bob to do another project for her to use at the CP center. In February, I wrote about how she asked him to cut lids of plastic peanut butter containers. I was the one who finally figured out a way to do it without breaking the lids.

Anyway, I asked Bob about his new Daddy-do project. He said it was a woodworking job, but he didn’t exactly know what Rebecca wanted. “She’s bringing over a diagram and dimensions this weekend,” he said. “I guess we’ll figure out what she wants then.”

When Rebecca arrived on Saturday she handed her dad a paper with all kinds of numbers and diagrams. “We want Boomwhacker stands.”

“You want what?” I asked.

“We need eight Boomwhacker stands of different lengths. I gave Dad all the dimensions.”

“What in the world are Boomewhackers?”

Rebecca explained that they were musical instruments made out of plastic that you whacked.

Bob Manzke creates a solid base to set a boomwhacker - a musical instrument - to be used by clients at CP Fox Cities.

I went to my laptop turned on the Internet. You can find just about anything there even Boomwhackers. I was right about that. After Rebecca typed in the search name in we found all sorts of video demonstrations of Boomwhackers.

Wikipedia said: “Boomwhackers Tuned Percussion Tubes are lightweight, hollow, color-coded, plastic tubes, tuned to musical pitches by length. They are used as musical instruments in the percussion family. They were first produced by Craig Ramsell in 1995.”

Rebecca’s co-workers, Whitney and Laura, came up with ideas for stands for their CP Fox Cities location. Our daughter brought their design to her dad — she hoped he had time since no one in our area was planting yet.

Bob looked at the project. It was a wooden dowel on a base. The idea was for a client to be able to run the Boomwhacker up and down a dowel to make a noise. This could be accomplished with one hand. The Boomwhacker would be stable and wouldn’t escape from the grasp of the person whacking it.

The bottom of the stand they designed was only a flat piece of wood with a hole for a dowel. “This is going to fall over,” said Bob.

“Can you make something that won’t fall over?” Rebecca wasn’t ready to give up.

Bob scratched his head. “I think so.”

There wasn’t a deadline on the Boomwhacker project, but Bob was ready to try out some of his own ideas. After Rebecca left, he went down in the basement searching through his wood scraps; his ideas usually involve re-purposing old stuff to make other stuff. This project was perfect for him.

The most trouble Bob had was finding a drill bit that suited the dowel rods he had. One bit was too large and one was too small. He ground down the larger one and ended up taking off too much so he had to shave some off each dowel.

In the end, the Daddy-do project was a success. Along with being stands for Boomwhackers, the CP staff found other uses for Bob’s creations — a game of horseshoes immediately came to mind.

I don’t think Bob is at the end of his Daddy-do projects. Rebecca and her staff are so creative, I’m sure there will be more to come in the future. In no time they’ll be asking Bob to put on his thinking cap and rev up his saw again.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;