RETIRED Gympie postal worker Ted Waters just can’t stay away from mailboxes.
His latest creation for a Rockhampton man is a carefully crafted Cobb and Co coach post box.
The septuagenarian’s fine eye for detail was honed as a child during the Second World War when he had to resort to using chook feathers as paint brushes to pursue his hobbies.
“During the war when we were kids, you couldn’t buy toys or anything,” he recalled. “I used to paint with a chook feather trimmed down with a razor blade to get the size I wanted.”
For many years Mr Waters has painted the scrollwork for Sunshine Carriages’ horse drawn vehicles and it was their coach that he modelled his latest mailbox on.
He admits it was one of his more difficult projects but considering he has been gifted with a steady hand and an ability to paint down as small as newspaper print, it was a challenge he managed without too much trouble.
While he might be a little slower getting things done these days, he says his hobby has been a lifesaver for him.
“I’m a cancer survivor. I’ve had seven operations on my head,” he said, whipping off his cap to reveal his battle scars.
“It’s only the last couple of years that I’ve come good.”
Keeping himself active and his mind on other things helped him recover.
“The doctors say doing this has been a great advantage to me. They said if more people had hobbies they’d see doctors less.”
Mr Waters also makes timber cut outs, miniatures and pull-along toys.
“When I was having radium treatment, I used to work them out by drawing them, then I’d make them out of cardboard and drawing pins to see if they’d work,” he said.
At 77, Mr Waters isn’t about to hang up his tools anytime soon and has just finished a Stihl chainsaw mailbox for a Gympie business.
“I can’t resist a challenge,” he said with a chuckle.