Meet the muscle behind LogHeads
“There’s a lot of talent in this country!”
Tommy’s been building furniture for years - he practically grew up with a hammer in his hand. But he certainly doesn’t do it alone, he gets a lot of help from his local crew and others who offer their considerable skills in order to create this beautiful one-of-a-kind rustic furniture.
Meet Mike at the Metal Shop
When Tommy sets out to design his furniture, there are no limits to his imagination. But, when it comes to manufacturing, he’s got to have the right equipment to bring his ideas to life. That’s when he relies on Mike, the Machinist.
“I have all these ideas in my head, but the biggest challenge is getting the equipment to build it,” explains Tommy. “Because we’re dealing with round logs, not square logs therefore, you’ve got to have custom machines built to do that. We’ve got a unique situation and are beyond blessed by having Mike.”
Tommy will take his ideas to Mike at his machine shop down the road from the LogHeads manufacturing plant. “He’s super intelligent, real creative, and does great metalwork,” offers Tommy. Mike builds all of Tommy’s custom machinery in his shop. He’s helped customize sanding machines and drilling machines to adapt to the unusual angles of log furniture and still keep the integrity of the rustic look.
Lumber: Joe Cedar and Joe Hickory
Tommy’s a “big cedar guy”, he just loves working with it. In order to find the right cedar, he’s spent a lot of time driving the back roads up North. He doesn’t want to buy from a middleman because he wants to be able to pick out the quality of the logs himself.
“I basically just rode around trying to find lumber,” Tommy explains. “I'd jump in my truck and drive around a lot of back dirt roads. Many of the Loggers are out in the boonies. I got a tip on the company that Joe worked for, and it wasn't long before I located him. We've been working together since 1999 and pretty much see eye to eye. He's a great guy and he's grown to be a good friend. Joe has his own company now and doing well. So we've kind of helped each other grow. It's a really good relationship.”
As much as Tommy loves working with cedar, some clients occasionally ask for furniture made with hickory. Tommy wasn’t planning on building it himself, he was looking for a vendor.
“I called a wholesale company and they said we were not big enough to sell their hickory products,” said Tommy. “Needless to say that offended me. So I decided...I'll build hickory furniture myself. So I did some research and found a supplier and now I'm building hickory furniture. ...my clients love it.”
But Tommy didn’t have to drive the backroads up North to find a hickory supplier. Tommy got a referral for a supplier close by and made the call.
“He already knew about us and he was a big fan of our TV show, LogHeads” Tommy said. “So we hit it off pretty good. He knew what caliber company we run, so he was glad to sell to us.”
Tommy’s hickory supplier, by the way, is also named Joe. So when it’s time to get lumber, it’s easy, they either contact Joe Cedar or Joe Hickory.
The Workshop Team
Many of the craftsmen who work with Tommy in the workshop have been with him for a long time. LogHeads Furniture is a well-known business in the area, so finding more craftsmen is never an issue. Building quality furniture is always his goal, so Tommy and Gwen are very selective when hiring.
“We're like a big family here, but they know our expectations of my wife and I. If we all are on the same page, it works out. I don’t like to use the word ‘employee.’ I like to say I have great people I work with every day.”
Tommy and Gwen strongly believe in second (even third) chances. They’ve had craftsmen explore other opportunities or had life events occasionally intervene with employment and Tommy & Gwen welcomed them back to the workshop.
“I just had one guy that worked for me in 1999 that just came back,” Tommy explains. “He had some problems, like we all do, growing up. However, he was upfront with me, said he was ready and he’s doing a really great job. So I’m happy for him. Yeah I'm a second, third chance guy. I'll just never give up on people I believe in. If I know someone’s heart's there I will help out as much as I can.”
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