Joseph O'Grady realized just how big the World's Largest Drumsticks were when they made national news.
A week after the first story in the Tribune Chronicle on O'Grady's plan to create the quirky tourist attraction as part of David Grohl Alley in downtown Warren, Grohl was asked about the project on ''TMZ,'' the nationally syndicated celebrity / entertainment series.
''Whenever Dave Grohl does anything, my phone blows up,'' O'Grady said.
Footage of Grohl talking about the idea triggered a flurry of calls and text messages.
''I thought, 'Holy crap, this is real,''' O'Grady said. ''We've got to get going. I got scared.''
The project still was in the planning stages when Grohl called the idea ''amazing'' on TMZ in early March. Less than three months later, it nearly is complete.
Joel Eggert takes a sander to one of the 23-foot-long poplar drumsticks. The sticks are in honor of Warren native Dave Grohl, who is a drummer and front-man for rock band the Foo Fighters.
Andy Gray photo
Artist / woodcarver Joel Eggert said if the weather cooperates, he should be done by the end of the month.
Eggert has been transforming the poplar logs provided by Doll Lumber Co. in Southington into the drumsticks on his property just outside of the city. Without access to a lathe that could handle a log that big, Eggert is creating the stick heads and the taper of the handles with a combination of chain saws, planers and sanders.
The diameter of the logs was so large, Eggert spent the first few weeks just removing some of the bulk. He built wooden brace supports while he cut the logs first into a hexagon and then an octagon before starting to cut away the angles to create the tapered cylindrical shafts.
''It was a lot of hands-on work and time-consuming,'' Eggert said.
Complicating the job was the fact that each log weighed about 1,250 pounds.
''One wrong move and you got smooshed,'' he said.
Once the carving is finished, Eggert plans to stain the timbers and cover them in a urethane clearcoat sealant to protect the wood. O'Grady, president of Main Street Warren, wants to keep one section of a drumstick uncovered in hopes that they can bring Grohl back to Warren to autograph it. Grohl attended the 2009 dedication of the alley, which runs parallel to the 100 block of West Market Street.
Eggert also is thinking about decorating the sticks with giant feathers to resemble the feather tattoos on Grohl's forearms. He said he's still pondering whether to create the feathers by airbrushing or by using another technique.
O'Grady is paying for the project through the sale of David Grohl Alley T-shirts and shot glasses - ''If you don't like drinking, we'll call it a toothpick holder,'' he said.
Many businesses have volunteered to sell the merchandise, not just in the downtown area.
''It's not just for Warren, it's for the whole Valley,'' he said. ''Everyone is embracing it.''
The plan right now is to unveil the drumsticks at the Warren Community Amphitheatre at one of the summer concerts. The sticks then would remain on display there through the summer before being moved to their permanent home around David Grohl Alley.