For the past 4 years, my wife and I have been working on a 15-year plan to settle in our forever home. There were specific elements that we wanted, including an off-the-grid lifestyle, enough land for a solid woodshed, space for our chickens and future Nigerian Dwarf goats, useable lakefrontage and some distance between us and good neighbors. There was also the stipulation that we pay cash, forgoing the weight of a mortgage. We figured it would be hard to find, so we started looking early.
Throughout the process, we said we would buy something earlier if it was the perfect fit. We found it, and here we are.
The woodshed itself is still being organized to the way I like it, but it is up and running and I'll start production in earnest in a few days. So far we've crafted a built-in bookcase for the family room, and spent some serious time at our local lumber yard.
In the future, expect to see what our off-the-grid lifestyle is like by following the New Hampshire WoodWorks Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/nhwoodworks/.
To be perfectly blunt, I use reclaimed wood to craft the majority of items in the shop.
Reclaimed wood. I suppose it conjures up different romantic notions in people, but when it comes down to it, it is simply a fancy way of saying I use recycled wood found anywhere and everywhere. Seriously, you can't imagine how much lumber waste lies around us, no matter where we go.
There are pallets, of course- these I'll find just about anywhere. From industrial sites who have a sign on a stack of them trying to get folks to haul them away (these make great fire wood, by the way), to the front of houses. A short drive will easily net me 2-3 useable, hardwood pallets. So much so, that I have to remember if I have the room currently to pick them up.
Then, there's everything else. Trash days are fantastic for gathering, as I can expect anything from broken chairs and bed frames to split butcher blocks and rough-cut tree trunks.
I'm serious, the stuff is everywhere.
After collecting, I'll bring it back to the shop like some deranged scavenger and begin to dismantle the hardware, then mill it down to useable pieces. It must be clean, it must be attractive and it must be able to perform the way I want it to.
It doesn't take much effort, and the end result is that there's little to no material cost passed on to customers in the final product. I like that, and I'm sure they appreciate the savings as well.
If you're curious, just look at what's being done in the shop with other people's trash-
To celebrate the paternal figure in your life, what better way to do so than by saving a little money? I'm kidding, of course. The best thing to do is hug them and thank them.
However, from now until June 10th (I want to ensure I can ship in time for the big day), I am offering a coupon code for all orders through the New Hampshire WoodWorks website.
If you haven't had a chance to peruse what I'm doing, I think you'll be surprised. For years, I've created in my workshop in the basement, but never really sold anything. It all went to the house. The bookcases, the bar, the toy chests... now, I'm doing this as a side business because I have amazing support from my family, and because I really enjoy it.
I'm not asking you to buy anything. Nor am I asking you to comment or provide feedback on anything. Instead, I'm asking you to take a look at what has brought more happiness into my family's life. On weekends, both Wendie and myself can be found fiddling a project along on the tables saw or upright sander. The kids are down there with us with an unlimited imagination, making their own creations. On weekdays, when I can, I'm in there grooving to my 80s loaded iPod and finishing clients special orders or creating something new.
I'm loving it, and I hope you know that you all have had something to do with that. You, through our friendships and interactions, have helped make me the craftsman I am today. I'm a little bit renaissance, and little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.
As a thank you, I'm offering a 15% coupon code on every order placed by June 10th. Use the coupon code Dad and get something quality built with love for that special someone in your life.
Happy Father's Day.
Resting in bed last night I was thinking of new projects for the shop. One area I feel could use some expansion is our gaming selection, and that raised the question of what games were worthy? There are a million cribbage boards out there and plenty of tic-tac-toe concepts. I don't think I'm ready for Mousetrap just yet and we already craft amazing checkers and chess sets. I wanted it to be simple with simple rules and I recalled our favorite bar-top game, Shut the Box.
Shut the Box is supposedly an old pirates game from the Caribbean, and the principles are definitely simple. Because the object of the game is to shut the box, it makes for the perfect travel game. All you need is a hinged wooden box, a row of numbered tiles and a pair of dice. That's it. I remember when I first played the game, I couldn't get over the wasted space in the box- how it could be designed to be used for something beyond just the game. Perhaps a gentleman's vanity box, a map case or something along those lines.
Therefore, I will be playing around with this idea. I figure my first one or two Shut the Box games will be fairly traditional as I familiarize myself with the dimensions and unique aspects, but in the future... who knows what might be coming down the pike. It could be a revolution in gaming straight out of New Hampshire.
It's a spring rain today, and with the twin chess cabinets resting after the finishing process and no pressing client orders, now seemed a perfect time to sit back, relax and update the website. Look for new items listed in all categories, with some one-of-a-kind special offerings available as well.
I do enjoy working in the shop during light rain showers, as the air is clean and reinvigorates me to no end. Perhaps it will continue on through tomorrow and I'll be able to finally open up the doors and remove the dryness of winter. Fingers crossed.
In the works for the next few weeks are a series of chess cabinets for stock, some simple ornaments to prepare for the Christmas season (I know, already?) and perhaps a few more boxes. Once everything is completed, look for them to be added to the site in the days to come.
As it stands, I have perhaps 30 or so items that remain to be photographed and listed, so if there's something you're looking for that's not up right now, chances are it's coming soon.
If you follow us on Instagram (and you should), you've seen the pictures taken at Jenness Farm in Nottingham, NH. Jenness is a small, family owned shop that creates fantastic goat-milk products, including a line of lotions my wife swears by so much she has a standing order at our local Agway where they are locally sold. In the spring season, when the kids (goats and human) are abound with energy, the shop lets the little ones bounce and scamper throughout the store. Guests can also head out back to pet and feed the goats in an idyllic New Hampshire farm setting. Jenness Farm is also unique in that they offer yoga classes with goats. Yoga with goats. Check out their website if you don't believe me.