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with all the wooden swings dancing in the breeze. A baby swing built for his 8-year-old son, Andy blows in the wind on the right of the driveway - outdated, seemingly forgotten.
Farther back, a white plantation swing is suspended between an oak and a poplar tree, swaying back and forth in the shade. When hands run over the smooth, rounded surface of the wooden swing - no sharp edges, every piece finely sanded by Krause's hands - it's easy to conjure up carefree feelings and scenes from childhood. It sort of feels like coming home.
On the other side of the yard, a swing is suspended between a pine and a gum tree. The support beam is an innovative piece of work specially designed and installed to give the trees room to grow. It was a good thing during Hurricane Fran last fall because the pine tree had room to sway.
Near the road, Krause built a covered swing - a Strombala, he calls it - as a landmark. Built on a concrete foundation, it's hurricane-proof. On a porch in front of the workshop are three glider swings of different colors. Two more wait in the garage for a customer from Philadelphia. Krause's wife Beth sits on the porch in a glider swing, reading the newspaper.
Inside the workshop, Krause sanded a swing back, one of his designs, while Andy plugged the holes in the wood where the screws were drilled, just as Krause learned to do when he worked as a boat builder. Andy plugged more than 600 screw holes in the porch Krause built out front.
"If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it right," Krause said.
Little did he know when he built his first swing a few years ago that the demand for his product would turn a hobby into a trade. Krause used to sell his swing through Pumkin Center Garden Supply store. Now, most are sold before they are built.
Krause grew up building wooden projects. A carpenter by trade, he learned from his dad, A.C. Krause Sr.. Except for the four years he was in the Marine Corps, Krause has always earned his living by building houses, furniture - whatever needed to be built. He works as a carpenter with Northeast Construction. Whether by design or by necessity, Krause is passing the trade to Andy.
Krause began building swings in 1991 when Beth, after asking for a swing for two years, got tired of waiting and bought a swing. She brought the box home and asked her husband to help assemble it. Taking it from the box, Krause remarked on how flimsy it was. He asked why hadn't she gotten something better. Her question: Where?
Realizing there was a need and a market for quality swings, Krause measured the swing and set to work to construct a sturdy product. He built a few more and took them to the Arts and Crafts Show in Richlands. At that time, Krause had no A-frames to hang them on so he just sat them in the street. He won second place.
"That show gave me the boost I needed and I started doing other shows," Krause said.
Krause's swings are made from pressure-treated yellow pine. He uses very little hardware. To keep the hardware from rusting, he is switching to stainless steel and is searching out some hardwoods, maybe oak or cedar.
His favorite is teak, the same used in boat building. But teak is not politically correct, he said, because it is grown in rain forests. Krause does the wood, cutting it pricisely to fit ino each other. Andy plugs and sands for a smooth surface.
Krause noticed that after time, swings bow in the middle. So he bolted his to continuous-board frames to give strength and stability. When his wife mentioned he should fancy them up a little, moving her hands in a heart-shaped motion. Krause began to develop his own designs, some with heart-shaped backs
"I can design it and build it, but I can't put it on paper for other people to build," Krause said.
Always looking for a better way to build a swing, Krause has hired a draftsman to put his designs on paper so others can buy the patterns and build them. He also has ordered computerized woodworking tools to speed production.
The original swing Krause built for his wife is long gone, given to a friend and replaced by a fancier new model, a glider swing on the front porch. Like the fabled cobbler's wife, Beth said she had to get in line to get it.

2334 Dawson Cabin Rd.
Jacksonville, N.C.28540
Phone: 910 340 2636


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