Woodworker gets last-minute help from California for COR event

2011-03-04T00:00:00Z 2014-08-25T15:07:12Z Woodworker gets last-minute help from California for COR eventBy ROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette

Todd Clippinger was coming up on his deadline and knew he wasn't going to make it.

The Shaker-style bench he was building for the auction at the COR Enterprise sixth annual gala on Friday simply was not going to be finished in time. He was going to need help.

"So I put it out there," he said.

Using Twitter and his online network of woodworking peers at, Clippinger asked if anyone was willing to come over and help him finish the project.

Brian Havens, a woodworker from San Jose, Calif., responded, joking that if he got permission from his wife he'd fly out. So Clippinger called Havens' wife and got her approval.

"He called my bluff," Havens said with a laugh.

Havens flew out the next day, arriving in Billings Tuesday night.

The two have been working since, hoping to get the bench finished by Friday. Even with the help, Clippinger said it would still come down to the wire.

Tony Cline, CEO of COR Enterprises, was impressed that Havens would fly out on such short notice to support a project benefiting COR.

Clippinger "did a table last year that was very popular," Cline said.

The Gala is a fundraiser for COR's new building, which is scheduled to be completed in June. COR is a disability services organization in Billings that provides help to people with all types of disabilities.

Clippinger's wife used to work for COR, so they've been active in helping to support its fundraising efforts. Clippinger said he's happy to lend his talents.

"The furniture brings in more than I could ever donate," he said.

Last year's table was a popular item, and so Cline was happy to hear Clippinger was going to participate again this year.

However, Clippinger has been busy this winter and with his normal workload wasn't able to move as quickly on the bench as he wanted. He soon realized he was falling behind schedule and so reached out for help online.

"Evidently, he's got quite a following on the Internet," Cline said.

Havens certainly counts himself as one. He's been looking for an excuse to come work with Clippinger simply to improve his own skills.

Having the gala be the event that brings him to Clippinger's workshop makes it that much more rewarding, he said.

Clippinger agreed.

"It kind of turned out to be nice," he said. Then he added, "We're still busting our butts here to get it done."

Contact Rob Rogers at or 657-1231.

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