- Associated Press - Saturday, January 4, 2020

BELOIT, Wis. (AP) - Tom Schroeder fell in love with woodworking when he was a boy, and now he wants to share his passion with the Stateline Area and beyond.

Schroeder is known amongst friends as The Wood Wizard, and it’s easy to see why. He started refinishing furniture for friends and then branched out to making intricate pens, wine stoppers, chain pulls and wooden art pieces. He’ll even do custom pieces, if asked, he says.

“It’s really something that you can put yourself into,” Schroeder told the Beloit Daily News. “There’s a lot of myself that goes into my work. It’s special to me. Each piece is different and has its own story.”

His love of woodworking started with a Redwood bowl he made when he was 12 and he still uses exotic woods from around the world.

“I fell in love with it. You feel a really personal connection to what you are working on,” Schroeder said. “It’s just amazing what you can learn about the types of wood and the trees it comes from. Each tree has a story and they all have strengths and weaknesses for working with them.”



In 2015, Schroeder said he was down on his luck and out of work when a friend offered him a job involving woodworking and his passion was reborn.

“I was down to my last four dollars in my pocket and I started going through everything, cleaning everything up,” Schroeder said.

As his past furniture refinishing client base grew, so too did his shop. It’s filled with seemingly all the tools a hobbyist would need, including an office space that holds his stash of exotic woods before they are transformed into finished works.

Fast forward to today and 1660 Wood Works on Facebook is filled with pictures of elaborate wooden artworks, unique pens and more. Schroeder’s work is also now on sale at the Villager in downtown Beloit.

“I don’t consider what I do a small business, per se, but I really love what I can do and it’s a passion for me,” Schroeder said. “I have learned a lot to be where I am today. I get to thinking about everything I can do as I am working on stuff. I didn’t want to depend on having to always buy what I needed.”

After buying pieces of stabilized wood from online vendors, Schroeder decided he needed to take matters into his own hands and teach himself every step of the woodworking process.

Stabilizing wood infuses a piece of wood with resin to create a harder finished product, sometimes with colors, that can be molded into the finished product.

Each piece of wood has a tale to tell, Schroeder says.

“You bring something back to life that someone might think is junk. It’s something that needs a little tender love and care,” he said.

Through social media, Schroeder said he’s made connections that he never expected, finding vendors and fellow woodworkers alike online.

“I have met friends there and stuff,” Schroeder said. “You get to find people you would never have been in contact with before all because of social media.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide