Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio
Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio

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Lenhartsville, PA _  Some would say Mark Hamm has come up in the world. His love affair with wood began in the basement of his father’s home where his interest blossomed into a passion for making split oak baskets. In mid life, after earning a college degree and pursuing several careers, he’s come up in the world of wood to a full-scale woodshop on the second floor of his Cape Cod style house in Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania.

“You have to love what you do to exchange a five-day work week with a paycheck to a seven-day 24/7 career with possibilities,” Mark says.

While we talk, he e-mails a picture of the room with a view where he’s surrounded by neat piles of wood in various stages of preparation to become wooden utensils that are both beautiful and functional. Patterns for the majority of his spoons, forks, salad servers and more than 90-utensils form a decorative border near the ceiling of two walls. Their beautiful lines might have been stenciled there as part of the décor.

Every inch of the 800 square foot room with a view of his wife, Collene’s English style garden has been put into service as storage and work space. Beyond the garden, a split rail fence covered with plastic coated dog wire encloses the acre and a half lawn where they exercise the Keeschond puppies they raise to show and sell.

“My typical schedule is preparing supplies on Monday for the work I’ll complete Tuesday through Friday. In addition to arranging stacks of American black cherry wood in the work area, I draw the utensil patterns on two-inch boards and stack the boards in bins ready for rough cutting on the bandsaw.”
He uses the band-saw for cutting the primary shape, but most of the real shaping takes place at the drum sander.

“I built the sander myself and I load it with course 100-grit sandpaper for the first round of shaping. I guide this by hand very carefully because with full pressure, I could grind the whole thing to dust and my fingers as well.”

He doesn’t wear gloves because he needs to feel the design springing to life beneath his fingers.

“The wood flies off and when I’m satisfied with the shaping, I change to a fine sandpaper to perfect the shape and smoothness I want.”

He believes the joy he feels in making heirloom-quality utensils, cutting boards, and other wooden implements, springs from the bond he feels with nature and history.

“My ancestors came to this country in the mid-1700s and made their living by farming and woodworking. It’s a thrill to me to be doing the same things they did and know that what I do has the potential to meet the needs of generations into the future.“ 

Viewing Mark’s website by putting “chesterpbasilspoons into your search engine will give you the opportunity to see hundreds of beautiful and functional utensils, counterware, cutting boards, racks. Make your list before coming to Shaker Woods for items priced between $4 and $32.

Find Mark Hamm’ Chester P. Basil Utensils in Booth 147. 

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Shaker Woods Shakerwoods Festival Columbiana, Ohio

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1101 Timberline Dr. • Columbiana, OH 44408

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