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The joy of woodworking

By JUDITH LINDER-ASHAKIH • Jun 9, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Scott Andres loves his work because he said “it is absolutely stress-free.”

His business and shop, DeerCreek Woodworks, is located on a fourth-generation family farm. It is on New State Road near Norwalk.

Andres learned the craft early by working with his grandfather and uncle who were carpenters. At first, all the work was for necessary family articles, but his uncle was always a master cabinet maker and carpenter.

After graduation from high school, Andres began working professionally for Suhr Custom Kitchens. After becoming a police officer, he worked part-time for Home Depot from Strongsville until the company was bought out.

“So I decided to open my own business. I had all my own tools and equipment, though I still purchase some here and there. One of my sons takes shop class in school and will be a fourth-generation woodworker and my younger son helps out a bit,” he said.

“I love to do custom woodworking from photos. To build from a picture or from a design drawn by a client — I really enjoy doing that. The end result is the satisfaction of seeing customers’ faces when I bring them the piece I'’ve made.”

Wood for many of his projects comes from various distributors, “but for special projects we cut our own lumber and mill it here.”

“It's our private stock from our woods. My grandfather and uncle got started logging in the 1990s. We have a lumber consultant and arborist come in to decide which trees are viable for harvest. Some come from storm damage. A sawmill comes in to cut it. We have two barns to store lumber for drying. There are a lot of species here to choose from,” Andres said.

“Honey locust is hard to harvest due to spikes on the bark. Some are over 100 years old. The wood doesn’t rot and has a beautiful reddish color. When it is finished it has an iridescent sheen. It is good for fancy cutting boards; the strong wood holds up well, as does black walnut,” Andres said.

"Poplar is very pretty when finished. It has a purplish, light green tone and takes finish excellently."

DeerCreek Woodworks also recycles old fence posts and barn beams from one of its own barns which is slowly going down.

Custom projects vary from large jobs such as making completely new kitchen cabinets, taking out the old and installing the new, to making individual pieces of furniture or refinishing floors.

In his extra time, Andres enjoys doing intricate inlays such as jewelry boxes, coffee tables and even wooden floors.

“Each piece has to fit perfectly. In the fall we utilize wood scrap to make small items such as candle holders, cutting boards, or wooden spoons, which my wife, Heather, takes to craft shows for sale,” he said.

DeerCreek also repairs furniture.

“Some customers like brand-new furniture, but in primitive style — coffee tables, for example. It is kind of fun to make it distressed by taking the new piece and dropping a log chain on it or use a file or bang bolt heads to put in dents and dings.”

Andres said he does “a lot of hard wood floor refinishing” and has gone to jobs as far away as Cleveland.

He also said can “take out stains in a couple of days using a special process to bleach the ruined spots and then refinish them to match the old so well one would never know it had been damaged. It is hard work but has amazing results.” Think of it as an upgrade in order to sell a house.

One of Andres’ larger jobs was renovating a retail clothing store in Sandusky, where he made the fixtures, display cabinets and sales counter. Some smaller commercial projects are to do laminate work.

Besides word-of-mouth advertisement and some product give-away promotions, DeerCreek takes bids from contractors for specific jobs. It is a member of an international referral network of local business owners who meet weekly to promote each other's businesses, as well as in other parts of Ohio and into Pennsylvania.

A new computer-controlled router is able to bring special carving abilities, add textures to items and to digitize photos onto wood.

“It has endless possibilities,” Andres said.

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