Langley retiree a woodworking aficionado

Wilf Driedger is a builder of many things.

A tour through the rancher-style home in Langley belonging to Driedger – a retired realtor, husband, father to two grown daughters and one son, and grandfather to seven – is proof of that.

With four decades of carpentry experience under his belt, the 67-year-old woodworking connoisseur, built his deck, entertainment centre, china cabinet, and coffee and end tables, to name a few items.

But his real passion lies in models.

Shelves throughout the home are lined with wooden tractors, trains, and vintage vehicles, all created by Driedger, who started his hobby 16 years ago and has been going full bore ever since, especially after retiring a couple of years ago.

Driedger’s latest work are replicas of a Peterbilt rotator tow truck, inspired by the one driven by a local driver in the wildly popular television show Highway Thru Hell.

“I thought, ‘That’s a really nice rig,’” Driedger said. “And then, once you start building it you realize how much technical stuff is on there. It’s amazing.”

Driedger delivered one of the models to the owners of the original truck from Aggressive Auto Towing in Abbotsford this past Monday.

The towing company has a photo of the model up on its Facebook site.

From 400 separate cut pieces, consisting mostly from one-inch maple and beech from Reimer Hardwoods, the first miniature truck took Driedger roughly seven weeks to build.

One section, the top of the rotator, requires 21 pieces, alone.

No detail was spared.

The hooks are made from pieces of coat hangers and the springs on the rotator come from pen springs.

The finished piece is decorated with acrylic and Tremclad paint.

The only pieces Driedger didn’t build are the tires, which he bought from Toys and Joys in Lynden, Washington.

Driedger has sold a few pieces, and has a few in his home with a local flavour, including models of the 1920s-era PY Porter truck and a replica white 1934 Mercedes 500 SL.

Former Langley City Councillor Terry Smith owns this model of Mercedes.

“Most of them I have a plan, but this big tractor I built without a plan,” Driedger said, pointing to a green John Deere model.

Three layers of shelving in one of the home’s rooms are filled with model tractors, paying homage to days gone by for Driedger, who grew up in small-town Saskatchewan.

“My folks came from Saskatchewan and I worked on the farm,” Driedger said.

The hobby was born more than a decade-and-a-half ago, when, while visiting a local bookstore, Driedger came across the plan for an Auburn Roadster in a magazine.

“I thought, ‘well I can build that,” he said. “So that’s the first one I built.”

Will his wooden models be his lasting legacy? Driedger certainly hopes so.

“One of my daughters said that when I’m gone, they’re going to throw it all in a big pile and have a great big bonfire,” Driedger said with a hearty chuckle.

Click here for more photos


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