This Barbershop scene was started by my dad, Bennie Day, around 1955 before I was born. Recently I got it out of storage and decided I would finish it in honor of my dad. Bennie was a wood carver and loved making scenes that represented Americana. He completed a football exhibit with over 100 figurines that featured a Sugar Bowl game in 1950 with LSU and Oklahoma, a Western Saloon scene, and an old time Country Store. He didn’t complete the Barbershop scene – life with 5 children and a full time job made it difficult to get to his hobby of woodcarving. I tried to make it look like a 1940’s Barbershop by doing some research on the internet. If my dad had completed it everything in it would have been hand crafted including the figurines of people that would have been there. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that but did get my siblings involved and we all handcrafted something for it. (some items will be added later)
This is what it looked like at the beginning of the project. He had the walls already painted green, the checkered floor painted, the cabinets, shelf, and sink were done. The barber chair was handcrafted by him but not put together yet and was in about 15 pieces. So that was the biggest challenge – to figure out how they all went together. He ended up having all the pieces to it done except one – the part to connect the leg rest to the bottom of the chair. Thankfully my husband was able to attach a piece of wood for that part. The chair has a base with a small rod and it actually swivels. The window and door had been completed back in 1955 also, they just weren’t glued in yet. I love the sign he painted on the window along with the lettering that he so carefully placed on both the door and the window.
I bought miniature objects to put in the scene from Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and ordered some from “Mary’s Miniatures” online. Some items I had to change or paint but most came ready to use. My favorite items were the shaving kit with a mug, brush, and razor. My sister and I made the aprons & capes. We have some other items that will come soon from my siblings who live away.
It was hard for me to finally settle on where everything would go on a permanent basis. I used regular elmer’s glue which would be easier to remove if I have to later.
My husband made the covering for it out of plexiglass. He attached it with screws so that it can be taken apart when needed to add items or to fix anything.
These are my 2 favorite pics. I love looking through the window and thinking about what it would have been like in the 40’s and the characters that would have been there. I’m sure my dad was thinking of the story of his sister and brother in law running off to get married in the small town of Hahnville, LA. in 1942. World War II was going on and they wanted to get married before he was called off to war. The Justice of the Peace was also the town barber so they got married in the barbershop. He pulled the Bible from under the slot machine and that is why I made sure a bible was placed in this scene – to commemorate this story. The 2nd pic is looking through my dad’s magnifying glass at the barber chair that he created so long ago. I felt as though my dad was looking down on me during this whole process of bringing back to life something that he had a vision for. I think he would be happy with the way it turned out.
The Barbershop Scene is now on display at our restaurant. We happened to have an old Barbershop cabinet that we used for storage and that works well to display it on. This is my sister and I on the day it was put out. We love sharing our dad’s work and are so proud of him.
Here is a picture of one of his other scenes – the Country Store. This shows what a wonderful carver he was and how he captured the scene so beautifully. Bennie never worked from pictures, but preferred carving from a memory of what the scene should be like.