This weekend, shoppers can see what Andrew Schnell is creating in the A.J. Schnell Woodworks booth.
Schnell was raised in Jasper, the self-proclaimed wood capital of the world and home of several famous wood manufacturers.
Both grandfathers worked in the wood factories and Schnell began picking up the skill from family and working summers at the plant.
“When we moved to Indianapolis, I started tinkering with building furniture for our house. We wanted furniture we couldn’t afford at the time, and that was 15 years ago,” Schnell said.
The former Zionsville teacher and stay-at-home dad to twin girls began looking at the next stage of life once the girls reached school age.
“I’ve done social work and teaching and it’s not that I don’t feel I was good at them, I was average and I did okay, but I feel like I am really good at this … it’s a great feeling to have,” Schnell said.
He welcomes custom requests and works individuals to design and build a special piece for their home. While he does have smaller items like serving trays, cutting boards and business card holders, Schnell concentrates on larger pieces of furniture.
The larger pieces such as dining room tables, beds, shelving, coffee tables and more lean toward Schnell’s hope to create a long-lasting piece for a home.
Custom orders can take several weeks to more than a month, based on the item and what it requires.
Many manufacturers will coat or finish a piece of furniture with one or two coats, but Schnell often applies five to 10 coats of finish, based on the use of the piece and to make it long lasting and protected.
“I make furniture to outlast our lives, our kids’ lives. It’s not for every piece in your home, and it’s not for everyone, but its heirloom furniture,” Schnell said.
He can even describe the wood used for your piece, down to its history and more and works to keep his material as sustainable as possible.
“You are not just getting a piece of furniture, you are getting a unique story of not only how the furniture was produced but even the story within the wood itself," he said.
Schnell has a photograph of an oak that he can describe down to the smallest detail.
“For example, this piece of oak tree was taken down right across the street from Eagle Elementary here in Zionsville," he said. "On the top of this piece, I can point out how the tree grew from two trunks and eventually grew together and became one, what that means, and point out the bark that got trapped between the trunks as they grew together. Also, in this piece, nails were hammered into the tree and eventually rusted away, leaving stains in the wood. I can even tell you about when in history the nails were hammered in.”
He does not typically carry inventory, however, Schnell has produced a supply of items to offer for sale at the Brick Street Market.
Only his second show since becoming an official company, he looks forward to the sights, sounds and clientele at the upcoming event.
“I pride myself in being local. I concentrate on serving Zionsville and surrounding areas, and it’s such an amazing community," he said. "Last year we went to Brick Street as customers and it was pouring rain. The water was flooding the streets, a torrential downpour, and still people coming to see it. That should say something."
For more information visit Schnell’s Facebook page or https://www.ajschnellwoodworks.com.