A local man creates exotic wooden plates as a hobby, and the only way you can get one is during an auction. Ray Thomas has been working with wood since he retired 15 years ago. He makes intricate designs in a style he created, only working with rare woods like walnut and hickory. However, he doesn’t sell them. He only donates the pieces to charity for auction. He said they’re collector’s items. The newest of his collectors items is an inlaid wooden plate, which will be auctioned off tomorrow night during the grand opening of the Alan Cottill studio and gallery. Thomas spent countless hours on the project, too many for him to even begin to add up. If you are interested in buying this plate, you may want to bring your checkbook. His last piece was auctioned off for $11,000 to benefit the Nelson T. Gant Foundation.