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Custom Woodwork, Big and Small, Crafted by Wisconsin's Finest

By Kelly Church

For the builders at Wood Joiners, the art of woodworking is simultaneously environmentally responsible, strong and beautiful. The DeForest company specializes in hand crafting unique wood pieces, both large and small, and since 1997 has evolved as an alternative to the conventional building practices most people use, says builder Mike Yaker. The team of builders at Wood Joiners has created things as small as room decoration, and as big as a barn.

"[For someone who] is looking to create something unique that is hand crafted with passion and integrity using the finest local and sustainable materials, Wood Joiners is committed to quality craftsmanship and a positive building experience," Yaker said. "Whether it is a large structure, architectural element, set of stairs, a stool or a spoon, we bring the same level of attention to satisfy our clients."

Wood Joiners can not only custom build nearly any structure but also fill it with custom-built furniture. The woodworkers have built many timber frames, which they cite as being different from a common structure frame that is built with just enough support so that they don't fall down. Wood Joiners' timber frames, however, use the tree's strength to build stronger, more permanent structures. Additionally, the team crafts barns and smaller buildings, all using sustainable material that don't come from just any lumberyard. They work with lumber by hand, making each piece a true work of art. Yaker says he's working on building a set of stairs that he's enjoying.

"Right now I am hewing a spiral [staircase] out of cherry," Yaker says. "The color and smell of the cherry is quite satisfying, and I am equally enamored [with] creating the waste, the chips, shavings and dust ? the remnants of the process."

Hewing is a woodworking method that turns a log in its natural form into a piece of timber, typically making the edges flat. Yaker also lists the creation of a loft ladder made out of walnut as an exceptionally enjoyable project of his for its simplicity and visual impact. This kind of work makes Yaker appreciate the materials he's working with, saying he has a deep respect for wood and the pieces he can create with it.

"Wood is a challenge that demands hard work, determination and a keen edge," Yaker said. "Each species presents its challenge in unique ways, it offers discovery and immense satisfaction when its demands are met, yielding form and function with warmth and beauty. It also smells really great."

Wood Joiners' work can be viewed at woodjoiners.com and the team can be contacted online, by phone or via email.

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