His woodworking merit badge is well-earned.

As a kid in the 1980s, Rick was an active boy scout. One day, his scouting troop was invited to visit the shop of LeRoy Schmaltz, the father of Chris, one of Rick’s fellow scouts. Mr. Schmaltz showed the scouts several wooden poles that he planned to carve into Tikis, and Rick’s curiosity was sparked.

In case you may not know that name, LeRoy Schmaltz was one of the co-founders of Oceanic Arts, the store that supplied tropical décor, Polynesian art, and authentic building materials to Tiki folks from 1956 until it closed in 2022. Anyone who has built a home tiki bar or oasis knows of Oceanic Arts. Apparently, in the midst of running this successful and well-known business for tiki folks, Mr. Schmaltz found time to also be a proud scout dad and to inspire young kids like Rick.

Read the rest of the story in Polynesiacs: Tiki at Home, page 226.

Lowbrow Tiki, Whittier, California

1 thought on “His woodworking merit badge is well-earned.”

  1. I’ve purchased a few pieces from Ricks collection. I always get great complements on his artwork. An underrated artist for sure. Definitely deserves time in the spotlight. Great article.

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