Remembering May 20th, 5 years later
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Great State: Hints for Woodworking at Christmas

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YUKON, OKLAHOMA -- Rough grain made smooth, hard edges rounded off, the picture takes in sandpaper and wood.

But it also takes in the life of Mike Hintze.

"It's time consuming," he says of his life in his workshop. "Very time consuming, and tedious."

To see him in his garage workshop you might never know Mike was a Vietnam veteran, a longtime postal worker, and rat race runner who did a little woodworking when he could, and a lot of regular working because he had to.

It took a lifetime to realize that woodworking was his real passion.

"To really do it justice it has to be a passion," says Hintze. "I think you would agree with that. If it's a job, if it's just Monday through Friday then that's just existing. Life is so short. Enjoy it."

Mike still owns a detailing business in the metro, but details in wood are what he likes best.

His imagination wanders between children's toys, wooden boxes, and back again.

If there is a key to unlocking Mike's creative energy, it's made of wood.

"If I really get stumped then I go back to something that I know," he says. "It makes me settle down. I got fifty things going on in my mind at all times."

He calls his favorite business Hints for Woodworking.

Mike makes puzzles and solves them.

He makes toys and plays with them.

He thinks things and figures out how to make them, including a full deck of miniature wooden cards.

"You can play with them," says Hintze. "You can do anything with them that you could do with other cards."

A block of wood, stacked in a pile travels some distance from its origins in a tree.

It takes a craftsman to finish the journey, preferable someone like Mike Hintze, who's own journey is just now rounding into shape.

Hintze sells some of his creations at shops in Oklahoma City's Plaza District.

The rest he sells at art shows and straight from his garage in Yukon.