LAKE PLACID - Anyone who spends time on Main Street in Lake Placid is bound to know Marty Perkins.
Perkins is one of two traffic control officers employed by the village to enforce parking regulations and maintain safety on the busy thoroughfare. He has held this position since 2011, after transfering from his position of animal control officer. But those who know him well also know he is a talented woodworker and craftsman.
Perkins has lived in Lake Placid his entire life. At the age of 8, his legs were burned in a serious accident. He was subsequently confined to a wheelchair for two years. As a result, his mobility was extremely limited. To pass time, Perkins started playing with Legos and carved wooden miniatures from pieces of two by fours. He found that he really enjoyed working with wood and creating things with his hands.
Marty Perkins poses in front of his cutting boards at Temptations from Lake Placid Gourmet.
(Photo — Charles Potthast Jr.)
Later, while attending the Lake Placid High School, he took a woodshop class and fell in love with woodworking.
Before accepting employment with the village, Perkins held several jobs where he honed his woodworking skills. The Lake Placid High School employed him as a teacher's aide in the Industrial Arts Department, were he worked for four years. During that time, he had a chance to focus on wood crafting.
"I really got into woodworking, especially making furniture," Perkins said. "I love restoring old furniture. Sometimes I would find old furniture at the dump and restore it to its original state."
Perkins takes pride in the fact that he recycles old furniture and uses salvaged wood in his creations.
All of his work is unique, and he does specialty jobs for contractors as well as all types of custom woodwork. His current passion is creating designer cutting boards. "I never make the same thing twice, whether it's furniture or cutting boards," Perkins said. "All my work is unique and one of a kind."
Perkins uses several different types of wood including yellow birch, birch, maple, cherry and walnut. People request cutting boards not only for themselves but to give as gifts for special occasions such as wedding anniversaries and birthdays. Locally, his cutting boards can be purchased at Temptations from Lake Placid Gourmet, where they carry quite a variety of his designs. They are sold under the brand name of Perkins Designs.
Perkins also donates his cutting boards to help local fundraising projects.
"I have donated boards to Hospice, AMC Lake Placid, the Lions Club and the Lake Placid Art Center," he said. "I really love giving them away to support a good cause."
Perkins' woodworking shop is located on Wesvalley Road. He also operates a sawmill there where he cuts wood to order and stores a large amount of soft and hard woods. Perkins said he had thought about wooding working as a full-time job, but decided to maintain it as a hobby for now.
"When I retire from the village, that is when I will start working with wood full time," he said.