By day, Rob Jones is an electronic technician. By night he is an award-winning woodworker who meticulously measures, cuts, sands and pieces together tiny bits of tubing to construct working, pitch-perfect “brass” instruments out of wood.
His instruments have been played by music professors and bugle enthusiasts. He has been commissioned for three bugles so far in addition to building a French horn, trombones, a trumpet and several banjos. He carved a bird, a shoe and a boot, a lobster and shells. He even made an exact Smith & Wesson .44 magnum replica out of wood — perfect to one-five-thousandth of an inch as a gift to his dad. Of course, if his dad shot the gun, it would explode into splinters, but it’s so precise Jones could take pieces of the wood gun and fit them perfectly into a real, metal gun.
Jones, 37, of Thomaston, developed his hobby when he was at his day job and saw his coworker building a mandolin on a lunch break one day.
“I thought, ‘that looks cool.’ So with his guidance I built my first banjo out of scrap wood,” Jones said.
He still has the instrument, which is made entirely of wood and some metal pieces he gathered when he tore an old banjo apart. That’s how Jones works — he takes a real instrument, or in the gun’s case a real object, and then measures each piece of it, graphs it out and then reconstructs it in wood.