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Retired Fergus County rancher turns to woodworking

Poster image (8).jpg
Poster image (7).jpg
Eldon Foster
Posted at 6:01 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 21:58:30-05

LEWISTOWN — Eldon Foster is a former Lewistown rancher who found his true passion for woodworking in retirement.

Fergus County Rancher Becomes Woodworker

Foster was in finance for three years before he was called to take over T Diamond Ranch his family inheritance. He describes his time as a rancher as ‘following the wrong end of a cow for 40 years’. Now that he is retired, Foster spends hours in his shop creating from wood on his own time.

”I just like those imperfections in the wood. Just beautiful, beautiful character,” said Foster about the unique patterns of different types of wood. “By accident I got into turning wood with an old lathe that was given to and one thing led to another."

Foster began his woodturning craft by creating bowls. Since then he has gifted more than 500 bowls to people across the country. Now Foster is able to create more things, such as vases, game calls, and rolling pins.

Creating the bowls is fulfilling but for Foster giving them away is even better: “That’s the joy. I mean usually you can read people if you open box of bowls and you can see where their eyes go. So I just give them away. I’ve sold a few items but that hasn’t been my goal. I wasn’t looking for a job when I retired, I was just looking for something to do that I could get some meaning out of and watching forms take shape on the lathe is incredible.”

Foster has some dream woods that he would like to work with, like a good Walnut or Black Locust, but he says his favorite to create with is Juniper, a type of wood that grows naturally in Montana.

Foster believes creating something that he has gathered from the nature around him is what makes a piece uniquely Central Montana saying, “I’m a Montanan through and through so to be able to get something from Montana and add a little character to something, it’s gratifying."

Though Foster isn’t in the craft to sell products you can call 406-350-1089 if you are interested in commissioning a piece.