"They just told me to keep these two," he said.
He's gotten a lot out of his recently found avocation.
Now 78, Johnson would probably rather be doing something else, but a car wreck a few years ago broke his back, leaving him reliant on a wheelchair but for some occasional painful steps.
"She was killed instantly. It broke me all to hell and back. I had a broken jaw and sternum," and his spine was fractured, he said. "I was held together with pins and rods."
But they had rotted enough that Johnson had to replace legs and Nike Air Max 90 Mens White/Black
"He was just thrilled to death with it," and then came requests for canes with duck heads, alligator heads and a lot of other animal grips. He gave a lot away in the beginning, but now sells his work.
The horses were originally carved before 1925 and were on a carousel that was wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, he said. During the cleanup, they were pushed into a pile of debris and left rotting until someone figured out what they were and saved them from a landfill, Johnson said.
"Every cannon Air Max 90 Black And Orange in there was hand turned. Each has four wheels," and each cannon is smaller than a penny, he said.
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Then, a few years ago, a friend from church invited him to a meeting of wood carvers, one of several arts and crafts groups that thrive among Jekyll Island's skilled retirees.
He started far more modestly. A neighbor wanted a cane with a cardinal handle. Johnson obliged him.
"At the hospital they tell me I should have been a brain surgeon," he said.
them with surgical clamps.
Crash leads Georgian to wood carving
He has plaques, certificates and trophies from a number of art contests, most recently a best of show in the Georgia Artists with DisAbilities competition in October. He won that with an intricately carved model of a three masted frigate.
They've had a lot of opportunities to tell him because he's spent a lot of time in surgery and rehab from the crash.
Not all of his work is as intricate as the schooners. In his workshop, Johnson has a couple of carousel horses and a unicorn.
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"I saw a white movement out of the corner of my eye," he said.
He spent a lot of time carving a schooner but stopped counting at 800 hours.
"They say I'm a natural," he said with a shrug. "I can see things in wood and figure out how to get it out. If my eyes can see it, my hands can carve it."
The horses are restoration projects while the unicorn he carved from scratch.
He did five for an insurance company and sent them back, but the other two were so degraded that restoration would have cost more than the claims.
"She ruined my life," Johnson said, "but in a way, she didn't."
It was a woman in a station wagon who had run through a traffic signal.
"They took my airplanes away from me. They took my boats away from me," the former government pilot said.
"Fortunately, they were made of cedar, and cedar doesn't rot very quickly," he said.
portions of the heads and faces.
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