Life may bend me and twist my trunk, but I will survive. All bent up and nasty looking, I too can become something beautiful.
We began woodworking out of our garage back in 1989. Our initial plan when we purchased the house was to build a shop on the land but life with three young children took precedence. During this time, Mark’s father became very ill. Mark would sit by his bedside in the evenings and his father would talk about how he had always wanted his own shop. After his father’s passing, Mark would often recall and talk about his conversations with his father and knew he didn’t want to be on his death bed wishing he had taken the steps to make his dream come true. We revisited the idea of building the shop and decided the house was the not location or land we wanted to build our future on.
We purchased some new land in 2001 which has frontage on the Hazel River. As we were walking the land, we found a spot with some rock outcroppings and in the middle of the rock grew a tree. Although the tree was bent and twisted, it had survived its harsh surroundings and became an inspiration to us. We nick-named our property “Bent Tree Lookout” and would often visit the spot to sit and look out over the river and nature around us. However, life once again had a different direction for us at the time so we continued to work out of the garage of the new house.
When Mark’s mother passed away several years ago, we decided it was time to finally build the workshop in honor of Mark’s parents, both of whom were a big inspiration to Mark. They both had had dreams which they were never able to fulfill and we decided life was too short to just keep dreaming.
We looked at several options for the shop and decided we wanted to build a custom shop which would compliment the house we had built instead of taking away from it. We came up with a compromise on the size of the shop deciding that a two story building suited the contours of the land and would provide the space Mark wanted without being over bearing. We decided to use the bottom floor for the metal working because of the weight of the machines needed for these tasks. The top level would be for woodworking. We hired an architect, Designs Unlimited, Inc., to help us design it. We were finally able to get our building permits and broke ground in July of 2014 with Jimmy Aylor providing the site work. Foundation work was provided by Action Group, Inc. Building materials and trusses where supplied by Builders FirstSource.
Building this by ourselves, through the help of some generous friends and family, took longer than we had hoped but we were finally able to begin moving some of the woodworking equipment in to the shop at the end of 2015.
We bought a PlasmaCam for the Metal Working part of the shop in December of 2015 and while working on the design of a “Bent Tree Lookout” sign for the end of the driveway, we stumbled on the name of “Bent Tree Workshop”. And the rest is now history!