Goodman finds peace in working with wood

Thomas Goodman has always loved working with wood.

But it was only as he neared retirement that he found his true passion in doing custom wood work.

“My grandad, Thomas Shacklet, always let me build birdhouses with him when I was little,” Goodman said. “That made an impression on me. I helped him build other things and I helped him work on a cabin he was building.”

He said, “I took carpentry classes in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. I was going to build houses. But the market dropped and nobody was building. Life changed.”

Goodman said, “I got married and had to get a real job. I worked for a manufacturer for 38 years. And I learned a lot about wood in my 38 years with that job.”

Then, one day about 10 years ago, his son wanted to build a piece of furniture.

“I helped him with that and then, my wife wanted a dining room table,” Goodman said. “I didn’t want to pay the price they were asking, so I built it myself.”

That was the start of Goodman’s Custom Wood Working LLC.

“Now, it’s a full-time job,” Goodman said. “I probably make a couple hundred pieces a year. People order them before I make them. They select the size and color.”

His customers mostly come through word of mouth.”

“I work by myself,” Goodman said. “My wife helps some, but it’s mostly just me. I make bedroom suites, bench swings, tables, chairs, entertainment centers.”

He said, “Sometimes, I make it to fit a space in the person’s home. Maybe they’ve found a piece of furniture they like, but it’s too big for the space. A lot of times, they bring me a picture of something they want.”

His business, which doesn’t have a website and relies strictly on Facebook, has a wide fan base.

“I’ve made things for people as far away as Chicago and Idaho,” Goodman said. “I’ve had several customers from Tennessee. But it’s mostly local.”

He said, “I enjoy doing it. I don’t make a lot of money, but I want to build something that people can afford and can pass down to another generation. I want something that the average person can afford.”

Goodman said, “There’s a high end market and a market that doesn’t use real wood. I’m in between.”

He said, “I’m three months out on orders now. I thought about getting bigger and hiring people. But that would take my hands off the furniture. I decided to stay the way I am.”

It doesn’t really feel like work, Goodman said.

“I love working in my shop,” he said. “It’s peace and quiet out there.”