Wooden Hammer Vermont
We are extremely fortunate to partner with so many talented Vermont craftspeople. One of those people is Ben Raphael of Wooden Hammer Vermont. We took a moment to talk with him and ask how he was doing during this period of isolation.
How are you doing and have you been able to work on anything right now?
Ben: Right now I'm doing my best to navigate the COVID-19 situation, having to manage my seven and four year old kids while still trying to get some work done from home. One of my employees has been working solo in the shop and earlier this week he dropped off a care package of cabinet door parts for me to assemble when I can find the time...It's been therapeutic to get my hands on some wood!
What do you miss working on and what are your favorite types of projects?
Ben: My favorite projects are the ones where I get to be the most creative or involve a new challenge. I built a walnut dining room set (table with extensions, chairs, and bar stools) for a client last year and was given a lot of creative license, which I very much appreciated; we ended up with a design that included lots of curves and challenging joinery and was so much fun to build. And re-purposing old material is always fun. I've built a few furniture-style cabinets made from reclaimed wood and old divided-light window sashes for the doors. I also love mixing materials; I learned to weld a few years ago and have done a couple of personal projects with metal and wood (including a ceiling light made from tube-steel and reclaimed wood).
Have you had any tricky situations that required a creative solution?
Ben: Back when I was first getting started (2004) and was working out of my basement, I built a cabinet that wouldn't fit through the door. I also once built a cabinet that wouldn't fit around a corner in a clients' stairwell, so we ended up pulling it up and through a third-story window. I love building big cabinets, but am now very careful about planning a way to get them to their new homes. A couple of years ago I did a kitchen for a client on the eight floor of an apartment building in Manhattan; I ended up making a model of the freight elevator in Sketchup (the 3-D modeling software I use) and made sure each cabinet would fit in there!
From a modest start building tree houses in his youth to now creating custom kitchens, cabinetry, furniture and more - Ben Raphael, is a very talented Vermont woodworker.