Knight, White and old wood

Sophomore Harley Knight, left, and teacher Jacob White show a recently-completed Williams Bay centennial plaque made of old boat pier wood. (Photo by Chris Schultz/Regional News)

WILLIAMS BAY — Woodworking students at Williams Bay High School are creating keepsakes for the Williams Bay village centennial, available to the public for $40 each.

Jacob White, a technical education teacher at the high school, has designed a commemorative plague made out of wood from recycled boat piers on Geneva Lake.

The plaque shows a burned-on image of the lake, with a star marking Williams Bay’s location, plus a copy of the official Williams Bay centennial logo.

White plans to use proceeds from sales of the plaques to fund the school’s woodworking program.

Organizers of the village’s centennial celebration are welcoming the contribution from woodworking students.

LaVerne Duncan, treasurer of the Williams Bay Centennial Committee, said she was impressed with the plaque.

“I think they’re wonderful.” Duncan said. “I’m excited that the kids are willing to make them. It brings another element to the community — and bridges the community to the school.”

The village will hold a one-day centennial celebration on Oct. 19.

White calls his creation Geneva Lake Memento Signs, which have the added novelty of being made from discarded boat piers.

“It’s all reclaimed lumber,” he said. “It’s all deck wood from piers on Geneva Lake.”

The plaques are being made by some of the students in the teacher’s advanced woods and metals class.

White said the design came to him while he was thinking of a project that might go with the village centennial.

He started with used lumber from a friend, but then sophomore Harley Knight put White onto a large collection of old cedar wood pier decking that was going to be burned.

Knight said he has a neighbor who works on boat piers in Cedar Point and had a large supply of old piers from the lakefront Williams Bay neighborhood — all of which is now being re-purposed as the commemorative plaques.

The design on the wood is burned in using a computer-controlled laser cutter at the school.

Village Trustee Greg Trush, who chairs the centennial organizing committee, said it is a good design and he is proud that it is part of the centennial observance.

White said he plans to sell the plaques for $40 each. The money will go to a fund to pay for lumber for future woodworking students who want to do large projects, like desks and tables.

In the past, students had to pay for the materials they used in projects. Prices sometimes called for students to scale back what they wanted to do, White said.

The plaques are 16 x 9½ inches and are an inch and a half thick.

The plaques retain some of the white paint from when they were boat pier. White at first planned to remove the faded white paint, but he said that seemed to remove the wood’s character — hiding its history as pier decking.

Knight said he has already made 14 of the plaques.

White said he will be making the plaques through the summer. Right now, there is enough lumber at the school to make about 80 plaques.

Knight said his neighbor will make another delivery of old decking soon.

Right now, there is interest by the Lions Club to have White sell the plaques at the annual Corn & Brat Festival at Edgewater Park this July.

White said he is designing a booth where he will sell the plaques and other projects by the technical education class.

He said he plans to sell the plaques before, during and after the centennial celebration.

Chris Schultz has been a reporter for more than 40 years. He has been with the Lake Geneva Regional since 2010. He covers the Lake Geneva City Council and the Lake Geneva area schools.