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Family tradition: Wood turner focuses on versatile offerings

By Bill Althaus bill.althaus@examiner.net

If you have ever enjoyed the magic of Disneyland, placed a bet at Caesars Palace, climbed aboard an attraction at Knott’s Berry Farm or watched “Dancing with the Stars,” there is a good bet you’ve seen the handiwork of Scott Root and his family of creative wood turners.

Many of the attractions at Disneyland feature the skills of the Root family, who have perfected their craft for 80 years, starting with Scott Root's grandfather, Wilson, who turned it over to Scott's father, Jim.

Woodturner Scott Root, who recently moved with his family to Grain Valley after perfecting his craft in California, works on a spindle in his Abaroot Manufacturing shop in Lone Jack.

Scott is carrying on the family tradition and has a scrapbook of creations from spindles and columns to novelty products like lamp posts, finials and decorative gavels and chess pieces.

On a larger scale, many of the ornate columns inside Caesars Palace feature the intricate work of the Root family.

“We were watching ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” said Scott, a Grain Valley resident who recently moved the family business from California to its new location off Old 50 Highway in Lone Jack, “and a pair of dancers are dancing through Disneyland weaving in and out of the columns we created for the Main Street candy store.”

“We got kind of a kick out of that.”

His three adult daughters, Teresa, Jessica and Victoria, got a kick out of special scavenger hunts their father would devise when they were youngsters, showing them photos of Abaroot pieces in the Disneyland, prompting them to search for them.

“That was fun,” Scott said, as he looked through the many photos featuring creations you have to see to believe, work that is so detailed it baffles the imagination to think it was created by hand.

Scott Root created this decorative pedestal in 45 minutes at his shop.

The family created specialty items for Caesars Palace for 30 years, and Scott takes a great deal of pride in talking about the tradition that began with Wilson Root.

“My grandfather Wilson actually started it all back in the days when the Yellow Pages were the best way to advertise,” he explained. “He was smart, and he wanted to be the first wood crafter in the listing, so he changed the e in Abe to an a, and came up with Abraroot woodturning.

Today, Scott’s new workshop replaces the family shop that was more than a half century old. 

“We offer a complete line of standard and custom manufactured architectural wood products including spindles, kitchen posts, table legs, custom columns and mailbox stands,” he explains. “If you want it, we can do it.”

He can also duplicate a patron’s pattern from samples, drawings or pictures in an assortment of wood that is as varied as the client’s imagination.”

After moving the business to Lone Jack, because the West Coast was simply getting too expensive and the Roots had family in Missouri, he has done jobs that have been shipped to California, Florida and Tennessee.

“We have clients from all over the country,” he explained. “We’re still waiting on our first client from Missouri, but we’re hoping that happens soon.”