CRAFTING A FINE ARTS TOUR

December 27, 2003 12:00 am
Piano technician Richard Jungman plays restored instrument. (The Pilot/Bill Lundquist).
Piano technician Richard Jungman plays restored instrument. (The Pilot/Bill Lundquist).

Pilot story and photos

crafted by Bill Lundquist

CRESCENT CITY – Fine craftsmanship was the theme of Hospitality Tours visit Dec. 17.

Mr. Piano Man

After assembling at the Pacific Coast Antique Mall in Harbor, 45 participants drove to a Crescent City neighborhood west of the Elk Valley Casino.

There, they met piano technician Richard Jungman and saw his collection of antique pianos.

Jungman said he came by his skill naturally. His father and grandfather were also piano technicians.

"I don't remember ever not working on pianos," he said.

Jungman had dreams of becoming a concert pianist, but ended up a piano technician.

When the tour participants heard Jungman play a few classical numbers on his Young Chang baby grand, they wondered why he hadn't made it big on the concert stage.

At one point in his colorful life, Jungman had to be evacuated from Ruby Ridge when federal agents carried out their now infamous raid.

Whatever brought him to Crescent City to repair pianos turned out to be a boon for local piano teachers.

"Now you don't have to go to San Francisco to get quality work," said Jungman.

He tunes pianos, of course, at about $75 a job, but he also does total restorations of pianos of any age.

The oldest piece in his private collection of 20 pianos is an unrestored 1860 Brooklyn, made in London of burl oak. Even the pedals are wood.

He also has a one-of-a-kind Mezler from the 1860s. It is so small that Jungman thinks it might have been built for a child.

Created before electric lights, the Mezler, and an 1871 Beckhart, also from London, both have built-in candle holders.

Jungman considers Chickering pianos to be the "Cadillac of the line." He has 1890 and 1906 models.

He also has an 1871 Aolian pump organ. His 1906 Meister piano is totally restored and up for sale for $6,000.

"A new Baldwin upright costs $7,000 and is made of particle board and cheap materials," said Jungman. "I would much rather have one of these."

One of the problems of restoring old pianos is finding ivory for the keys.

"You can't get ivory anymore," said Jungman. "You have to know someone who's got it. I'm one of those guys."

He saves ivory from pianos that he has "parted out." He said key sizes are unique to each antique piano.

For repair estimates, appraisals or basic piano maintenance and tuning, call Jungman at (707) 464-9829.

He said he can provide many longtime local references.

A Stout Pint

The group had lunch at the Surfside Grill and Brewery on Front Street in Crescent City, then toured the microbrewery.

Brewmaster Steve Guiling said the process starts when grain is loaded into a hopper on the outside of the building.

A bucket elevator takes the grain to a tank at the top of the building where water is added.

A mill cracks the grain and it is steeped in water to make an extract. The grain is then left behind and is used for cattle feed.

The extract goes to the brew kettle where hops are added and the mixture is boiled.

It is then run through a whirlpool tank where the solids drop out. A chiller cools the mixture to 70 degrees in about 10 minutes.

The next stop is the fermenters, where yeast is added to convert the sugars into alcohol.

After 10 to 14 days, the temperature of the beer is lowered, and the yeast drops out.

A quick trip to the bright tank clarifies the beer, and it is ready to drink.

Guiling said the Surfside Brewery features six types of beer: Beachcomber Blonde, Whitewater Wheat, Boardwalk Bitter, Da Kine Alt, 1964 Strong Ale, and Blackseal Bock.

The products are available by the glass at the Surfside Grill. Guiling said the 15-25 gallon kegs are also sold throughout six counties in Northern California.

One Big Tree

The tour encountered another type of craftsmanship at the Curly Redwood Lodge in south Crescent City.

The motel, a community landmark since 1964, was built from a single redwood tree more than 18 feet across.

Owner Bev Gillespie said it was not just any redwood, but a rare curly redwood found near the Klamath River.

The tree had to be cut into five logs and quartered to be transported. Area lumber and plywood mills turned the tree into 57,000 board feet of lumber.

"There will never be another motel built like this," said Gillespie. "We have enough lumber left for six more rooms."

She showed tour participants two of the motel's existing 36 rooms. The exterior walls and all doors are made of redwood, as are closets and trim in the rooms.

The unique motel might not be the height of luxury, but at $41 a room for two people, including breakfast, Gillespie said the place is always full in the summer.

"Some people return year after year," she said.

For a closer look at a unique piece of architecture, call (707) 464-2137, or check it out on line at www.curlyredwoodlodge.com.

Cabinets and More

The tour headed north on Lake Earl Drive to Johnston's Cabinetry, just past the old mill.

As the name implies, this is where craftsman Michael Johnston makes custom cabinets.

He used to make custom furniture too, but now does so only for his cabinet customers.

Johnston said he carved wood when he was little and took wood shop classes in school. He finally owned a shop of his own, and when he moved to the area, it was only natural to open one here.

Tour participants inspected the shop equipment. Johnston showed off his shaper, which turns a three and a half pound bit at 10,000 revolutions per minute.

A built-in vacuum system pulls 150 pounds of fine sawdust out of the air each week. Johnston said he has to throw it away because nobody wants fine sawdust.

Tour participants expected the shop, but they were surprised to find Johnston also runs an eclectic and well-stocked gift shop in front.

Artists with exhibits during December include:

Brookings-Harbor

•American Family Insurance, South Coast Center, (541) 412-7500: Len Burton, Vi Burton, Char Lane and Montana Schrottke.

•Brian Scott Gallery, 515 Chetco Ave., (541) 412-8687: Horst Wolf, watercolors, and Elio Camacho, oils. Exhibits may be viewed at http://www.brianscottgallery .com.

•Brookings City Hall, 898 Elk Drive, (541) 469-2163: Kathy Huxley and Trisha Easley, mixed media.

•Brookings-Harbor Ford, 16016 Highway 101., (541) 469-2154: Vi Burton, Len Burton, Pete Chasar, Kathy Huxley, Claudia Mach, Barbara "Red" Mikell, Charlotte Palmer and Montana Schrottke.

•Chetco Community Public Library, 405 Alder St., (541) 469-7738: gallery – – Buzz Stewart, watercolor; showcase – Vanessa Keys, Santas and angels.

•Copy-All, Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center, (541) 469-3100: Jeanie Gordon and Bette Sherbourne, abstracts and collages.

•Espresso Gallery, 16340 Lower Harbor Road, (541) 469-3161: Dee by the Sea baskets by Deanna Elsom.

•First American Title, 729 Chetco Ave., (541) 469-5318: Sara Broderick, Jean Beebe, Mary MacMinn, Bette Sherbourne and Jane Simmons.

•Heads Up by Shar, 615 Chetco Ave., (541) 469-1250: Tom Moody and Bette Sherbourne.

•Java Java, 613 Chetco Ave., (541) 412-7444: Tom Moody, mixed media.

•Judy's Corner, 15608 Highway 101, (541) 469-5839: Len and Vi Burton, photography and prints.

•Manley Art Gallery, Oak Street, (541) 469-1807 or 469-1215: Main gallery – Bette Sherbourne and Jane Simmons; classroom gallery – Meralyn Ard, Cindy Bartoo, Jean Beebe, Sandy Bonney, Bette Sherbourne, Jane Simmons, Audi Stanton and Dale Wells.

•Mory's, 810 Chetco Ave., (541) 469-4856: Montana Schrottke, mixed media.

•Oregon Pacific Realty, 534A Railroad St., (541) 661-2399: Pam Swegles, mixed media.

•Words and Pictures, 407 Oak St., (541) 469-7067:

Personal interpretations, "The Human Form," group show.

Crescent City

•College of the Redwoods, 883 W. Washington Blvd., (707) 465-2330: "Quilt Show at the College" features 20 creations from quilters throughout Del Norte County.

•Crescent Harbor Art Gallery, 140 Marine Way, (707) 464-9133: Louise Johnson, acrylics and glass.

•Del Norte County Courthouse, 450 H St., (707) 464-1336: Brookings artist Jane Simmons, pastels.

Gold Beach

•Biscuit Gallery and Gold Beach Books, 29707 Ellensburg Ave., (541) 247-2495: Artists of the Wild Rivers Coast.

•Gray Whales Gallery and Gifts, 29830 Ellensburg Ave., (541) 247-7514: Group Christmas show.

Smith River

•Guschu Hall Teahouse and Galleria, 12821 Mouth Smith River Road between Highway 101 and Oceanview Drive, (707) 464-3270: "Institutions of the Unknown," a photography exhibit from the collection of Tripp Morningstar of Arcata Recycling.

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This listing is published every Saturday. Artists with exhibits in Curry or Del Norte counties who would like to be included may call Bill Schlichting at (541) 469-3123, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Exhibits may include items for sale. Inquire at the gallery for information.