Sawdust Addict

Building hobby into business

Building hobby into business

A Jacksonville man has turned his attention from pouring drinks to operating saws and routers.

Joe Thomas hopes to build a lifelong love of woodworking into a profitable business.

Thomas and Tracy Wood recently opened a woodworking shop called 217 Wood Works at 314 S. Main St., next door south of the Irish Toad bar and restaurant. The two previously owned and operated Club 217, a bar at 224 E. State St.

“Before we sold the bar, I started purchasing woodworking equipment to do woodworking out of my garage,” Thomas said. “The buyers of the bar wanted an immediate transfer of property, which gave me the idea of opening a woodworking shop, since I had already started buying equipment.”

After purchasing woodworking equipment, Thomas contacted Mike Wankel, who said the building he owns at 314 S. Main St. was available for rent.

At 217 Wood Works, Thomas and his craftsman, Jim Batty of Jacksonville, will do custom-ordered projects, as well as their own designs.

“I bought a CNC router, which is a computer-operated router that will do anything from your basic engraving to 3-D routing,” Thomas said. “I want to specialize in refacing cabinet doors, so you don’t have to replace your full cabinetry. I’ve talked to various Jacksonville-area carpenters who have told me that there are people who can’t afford new cabinets, so this will help those who want a new look but don’t want to spend the money on new cabinets.”

Thomas said until 217 Wood Works has enough finished products, all custom orders will be filled through the business’ Facebook page.

“I have been doing woodworking most of my life, and I wanted to take it one step further and open my own woodworking business,” Thomas said.

As a side business, Thomas recently purchased all the dye sublimation equipment from Prairie Winds Engraving when it closed on the downtown Jacksonville square.

“I’m willing to give someone this business who has graphic arts knowledge in exchange for overseeing my future retail woodworking shop,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for someone to own their own business with little investment to start out.”

The dye sublimation equipment is capable of producing name tags, personalized koozie cups, dog tags, mouse pads and parking signs, among a long list of other of other things.



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