Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

When Phillip and Cheryl Luschen put their minds together, good things happen for the Baker City Quilt Club.

The couple, who moved to Baker City four years ago from Medford, saw something they liked at a Pendleton quilt show they visited last spring.

Of course, they enjoyed the quilts, but what particularly caught their eye was the way the decorative covers were displayed.

After talking with those who put on the Pendleton show, the couple brought home with them details of an innovative system used to stabilize PVC pipes on which the quilts are displayed.

In the past, the Baker City Quilt Club has used a 2-foot-long pipe placed on each side of the connected PVC pipes to form the base of each quilt rack. The 2-foot-long protruding pipe on each side of each rack is cumbersome and is a tripping hazard and an obstruction for those who use wheel chairs, the Luschens said.

Instead of using the 2-foot pipe extensions to form the base of their racks, the Pendleton show sponsors used two square metal plates with metal pipes welded strategically to the plate at several points. The squares also have a slot measuring 2 inches by 4 3/4 inches cut out to allow for easy stacking of the bases.

While Cheryl is the quilter in the family, she says Phillip has an eye for design and brings 40 years’ experience working as a carpenter, including carpenter welding, to benefit the club.

“My husband is a big help with our quilt stuff,” Cheryl said. “He has a really good mind for figuring things out.”

And as the husband of a quilter, Phillip says, “I know pretty well where all the quilt shops are in Oregon.”

Once the Luschens secured the pattern for the metal bases from the Pendleton club, they next needed to find some welders to complete the work.

That came in the form of a recommendation from a fellow quilt club member, who just happens to live next door to Ryan Butler, the welding instructor at Baker High School’s Baker Technical Institute. And other quilt club members gave their support for the project to proceed.

When Phillip Luschen spoke with the teacher, Butler said his class would be happy to take on the community service project, which students perform for organizations, but not for individuals in the community, he said.

Butler said Wednesday that he has placed BHS junior Andrew Adams in charge of the project, with Butler’s guidance along the way.

“He’s making sure everything is cut out right and laid out right and then the other guys can follow his lead,” Butler said.

Andrew used a plasma torch to cut the slot for stacking the metal bases Wednesday. He followed a template students designed to ensure accurate cutting on each piece.

Ryan Lemmon, another BHS junior, was busy cutting the pipe lengths and removing one inch of paint from one end to prepare them for welding during class time Wednesday.

“I thought this would be a great project for the kids to start working on their fabrication skills,” said Butler, who’s in his second year as the BTI welding instructor.

The quilt club supplied the materials, about $600 worth, for the class project. They hope students will be able to put together about 90 bases for the quilt racks.

“It’s wonderful that they were willing to do that,” Cheryl Luschen said.

Her husband had already been in Wednesday night to inspect the students’ work and was happy with what he saw.

“I was very, very pleased with what they’re doing and that they’re doing it as a com munity project,” he said.