Mount Zion, Illinois (AP) — Rondagar hasn’t slowed him down by retirement.
86-year-old Dugger retired from Caterpillar 32 years later.
“And I was out for 34 years,” he said.
As long as he worked, Dagger has spent much of his retirement life creating elaborate woodworking projects. One of the more complex designs is the electric model boats, many of which are placed on the shelves in the basement of Mount Zion and are ready to orbit the lake.
“They have variable speeds,” he said. “Except for one. There is forward and backward, and one speed. This is fast.”
Dagger does not use the ship or plans to create his project.
“Get them off the top of my head right away,” he said.
And what is a boat without furniture, accessories, and a bridge that allows the boat to move down? Daggers also make them.
The individual slats and planks formed together are used to create boat floors, walls and other safe areas. One of the boats, the 47-inch liner, took about three weeks.
“Everyone says it’s fast,” Dagger said.
The boat travels along the water with an electric battery designed for model motorcycles and airplanes. The motor can move the boat along the water at 4 mph.
Dagger used a boat to fish. He attaches a hook under the boat to loop the fishing line into a sturdy string.
“You have to put it down so that the top doesn’t get tangled,” he said.
Dagger built nine boats, many of which are marked by the names of some of his grandchildren.
“I have about 22 great-grandchildren, so I think it’s a hassle to make each one,” he said. “But they like whatever Grandpa makes.”
As a kid, Dagger began to be fascinated by modeling transportation. Growing up in Indiana in the 1940s, he built an airplane.
“I still have two of them,” he said.
The attraction continued to retire.
“When I retire, you sit around the house and get pretty bored,” Dagger said.
Currently his project consists of a woodworking project and sculpture, but Dagger admits that his eyesight is different than before. So he spends time on each project.
“I’ve ignored it for the past two years,” he said. “But I can do that.”
Concentration on boats and other projects began after Dagger built his house and four others in the neighborhood of Mount Zion. Other hobbies included water skiing and highly competitive motorcycle racing.
“I was too old to fall, so I had to quit,” he said. “Unless you trip over something, there isn’t much danger of falling here.”
Dagger took advantage of the motivation and ambition he learned from racing for other paths in his life.
“If you’re not doing your best, you won’t fall,” he said.