In Interviews

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We’re interviewing makers from all 50 states. Today we’re featuring Meggan Smith, a woodworker and small-business owner from Kansas.

How did you get started woodworking? Who were your mentors?
My woodworking career began with a patio project with my husband. He is very handy and decided to take on the project ourselves, which involved a retaining wall, stairs, and a patio. All the stones came on pallets. Determined to not let those pallets make it to the landfill, I told him I wanted to create something with them. He found this humorous, as I had no skills involving power tools, etc. My husband Kyle showed me the ins and outs of a workshop and tools. I ended up creating a few little signs and put some in the school auction of my children’s school. I had a lot of interest in them and decided maybe I could make a few more. It snowballed quickly and within a year I had a full-fledged business. My husband has always been my mentor. He is a brilliant man that can always help me figure out something while teaching me during the process.

What do you think is your best or favorite work? What kind of work do you do the most?
I enjoy the challenges of custom work. I get to use my creative side and decide how I want something to be done. I love capturing the vision of my clients in my work. My main work is signs paired with metal and backlighting, though I do dabble in barnwood quilt art as well, in honor of my late friend Loni, who was interviewed by you last year.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to start woodworking or pursue it as a profession?
My advice for someone wanting to start woodworking would be to learn the safety aspects of all your tools and keep a clean workshop. It sounds basic but I can tell you from experience an uncluttered workshop can keep you from injury just as much as having knowledge of tools.

Is there anyone you’d like to shout-out or recommend we follow? Who inspires you? (Doesn’t have to be woodworking related, either.)
I had the honor to work on a project in Utah earlier this year called “The House That She Built“. I met talented women woodworkers from around the country–we came together to be part of the finish team for a home that was built solely by women from the ground up! The project was to fund scholarships for women in trade, as well as support a domestic violence shelter in Utah. The women I worked with were so inspiring and talented and I definitely recommend following:

Kristine @onegoldnail
Merissa @heathstreetwoodworking
Maria @she.tiles
Lindy @paradeofhomesig
Stephanie @stephaniebuildsit
Abby @thelocaltilechick
Karissa @thesandingblonde
Sam @_ssssam

See more of Meggan’s work on her website or Instagram @mrsdecorllc.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

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  • katskull

    I’ve read and heard that the wood used for pallets is treated with some nasty chemicals to prevents rot and insect infestations. I decided it’s not worth using.

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