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Family of local Vietnam war veteran sells his wooden swords and staffs

Jordan Egbert, left, Lauren Egbert and Riggins Edbert, bottom, at their booth at the Mystic Realms Fantasy Fair. | Logan Ramsey,
POCATELLO — Many people walking through a recent fair stumbled across one vendor that was selling fantasy style wooden weapons.
This booth was occupied by Lauren Egbert and her husband, Jordan Egbert, at the Mystic Realms Fantasy Fair on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They were selling wooden swords and staffs that were handcrafted by Lauren’s father, Monty Eliassen, a Vietnam war veteran who served in the Navy.
“He will spend six hours on his feet in the garage, year-round. It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside or how hot … because it keeps him busy and he believes that if he stays busy, he will stay young,” Lauren said.
In 2013, Monty retired from a career at an airport in California. That very same year, he took up the practice of woodworking, just like his father had done when he was growing up. His father would make “quirky” items as well as household items, like napkins and paper towel holders, and his mother would paint them.
But Monty brought his own personal interests to the work. While his father was a fan of adventure stories from the Old West, Monty loved and still loves fantasy adventure stories.
While Lauren and her sister were growing up, Monty brought them up on stories like the Dragonlance novels, Dragonriders of Pern and The Lord of the Rings.
“My dad has always, always been a fantasy lover. It was our bedtime stories. That’s just who he is,” Lauren said.

Some of Monty’s swords. | Logan Ramsey,
And Monty wanted to stay busy after retirement, so he began crafting wooden swords and staffs. It originally started as gifts for the grandchildren, until he eventually had enough to sell them online through an Etsy shop.
While he was running this online shop, he noticed the area he had lived in most of his adult life changing. They lived in rural California, in the high desert where they had horses and did rodeo. The area saw a boom in growth, and the surrounding farms started to turn into neighborhoods and strip malls, so he and Lauren decided it was time to move in 2015.
They took a map and drew a line on each of the highways, mapping how far 12 hours would be from the rest of their family, not wanting to go farther than that. At one point, they found Pocatello on the map, reminding Lauren of the people she had met that were from the Gate City and loved it.
“So we drove up here one day just to check it out, and before we left the next day we bought a house together,” Lauren said.
Eventually, Monty started to find it too difficult to keep up with running the Etsy shop. He also wanted to keep his prices low, but the fees of selling online were too high.
“It just wasn’t worth it to keep it up anymore,” Lauren said.

Some of Monty’s staffs. | Logan Ramsey,
Despite this, Monty still keeps to a rigorous schedule and continues to woodwork.
“It’s not really a business — it’s his livelihood,” Lauren said.
While not running a business actively, Monty does fill orders for a variety of clients when he’s able to. One of them recently was Blazing Frame, which bought a number of his canes for fractal burning, which creates lightning patterns on the wood.
Monty still has an Instagram account, Dragon Hunt Armoury. People can still request commissions from him, which he can do if he has the time.
People will also be able to find Lauren and Jordan at the Shady Grove Music Camp from July 19 to July 21 selling Monty’s swords and staffs.
For Lauren, she sees selling her fathers work as a way to take part in keeping the family’s tradition of woodworking alive. When she saw her father pick up the practice, at first she thought, “Maybe he just didn’t know what else to do.”
“But it turns out it’s definitely a family skill,” Lauren said.
The post Family of local Vietnam war veteran sells his wooden swords and staffs appeared first on East Idaho News.

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