James Zombolas is a hard-working, quiet man who speaks with his hands. "Oh, I just don't like to talk much," he says.

Among his achievements are a herd of sturdy rocking horses scattered in his relatives' homes and a gleaming, flawlessly mitered and routed cabinet under his wife's microwave oven. For Carol and Peter, he is building a large buffet.

At 58, Zombolas is a technical illustrator at IBM. Originally from Pennsylvania, he built his first home, a four-bedroom house in Bucks County, where Carol was born. "I hired people only for the cesspool and the concrete base," he says. "If you ask my wife, she'll tell you it took forever. I started after Thanksgiving and worked up till the cold came in December. I started again in February, and two weeks before Christmas we moved in."

A few years ago he added a garage to his present house, and there he stores his band saw, table saw, radial arm saw, power sander, power miter box and power planer. He shares his tools with his son John. "John is inheriting all the pieces," he says. "He is a good carpenter. A professional."

James and Marion Zombolas plan to retire in Arizona--because of the climate.

Zombolas' father came to this country from Greece while still a teenager. James Zombolas was in the Marine Corps during World War II. He would have married right after the war, but he waited until 1949, when he had "a secure job." He says the only time he was nervous in his life was at his own wedding.

He enjoyed Carol's wedding, he says, just as he enjoyed all his children's weddings. At the party, which lasted past midnight, he rarely missed a dance.