Featured Residents

This section of our website will highlight residents of our neighborhood -- some for their contributions to our community and others with special talents and interests. We need your help to identify and feature them. To do this, you can send an article by clicking on the following link. webmaster@carolinashores.info You also can let the webmaster know about someone you think should be interviewed. Now, with pleasure, we present one of our "Featured Residents."
 

 

George Balbach works with wood but in a totally different manner than Rich Hamilton about whom we wrote earlier. Rather than making adorable rough-hewn caricatures, George is a professional woodworker. He learned woodworking as a young boy from his grandfather who was a wood turner, cabinet maker and carpenter in the early 1900s. George began woodworking himself when he was around eight years old. Even today, he and his wife Kim have a bookcase in their bedroom that George made when he was 10 years old.

George making a mission table

About 1980 George became passionate about woodworking. He began making small tables, washstands, mirrors, wine racks, benches and coat racks. Thousands of pieces of wood, cans of stain, tools and machinery in his workshop attest to his passion.

George and his wife Kim lived in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, where he was a civil engineer for the State and she a nurse. During his career George designed highways and bridges, served as resident engineer on a construction project, and spent the last 15 years of his State government career in contract administration. He and his wife Kim discovered Carolina Shores while visiting friends here in the late 1980s. They designed their home, which includes George's 18 x 25-foot workshop, and then retired here in 1991.

 
The table that George is building with inserted tiles showing on right

 

Although machines are necessary and George has 12 large stand-alone machines and numerous small electric ones, he enjoys handwork with hand tools. His skill is demonstrated in these photos of a template used to make small figures, dove-tailing in a drawer, and a coat rack with ponies.

Template
Dove-tailing
Coat rack with ponies
Top of coat rack

George prefers Shaker-style furniture because it is simple, functional and well-made. He made the two pieces below which adorn his and Kim's home.

Shaker-style furniture
 

 

 

 
 
A modern cabinet

 

A traditional oak cabinet
Although George's workshop might appear cluttered, like other artists he knows precisely where everything is.  
 
Currently George works about 20 hours per week, more during big projects. He is exceptionally organized and energized, bouncing from activity to activity, never seeming stressed or weary. Added to his woodworking, he is a caring neighbor ready to lend a hand to friends in need.
George working
   

The Balbachs' two sons and two daughters are spread out -- New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Myrtle Beach. Kim and George have given innumerable items to their six grandchildren and assuredly will continue the pattern for the one expected in September. For starters, each child has a toy chest and a coat rack.

Furniture restoration and repair are among George's many talents. He dissembles furniture, repairs it, reassembles it, and then strips and stains it.

A child's chair, covered with sawdust, awaiting restoration
Furniture awaiting repair

George and Kim give many of his woodwork creations as gifts to friends and visitors. George also has also has donated work to an area church.

George is always bubbly and smiling. While he claims that golf is the activity that he enjoys most, in his workshop it is hard to imagine that anything could be more important than woodworking. George also enjoys yardwork and birds. In fact, Kim and George have two pairs of pileated woodpeckers that feed right outside their window and even when they are outside near the feeders. One pair is the offspring of the other.

Just as we feel about our other featured residents, we know we are very fortunate to have George and Kim for neighbors in Carolina Shores. When we need help, particularly a woodworker, we know who to call.