Canoes, Adirondack Chairs, Wood Music Stands

Friday, January 19th at 8:30p ET

Host Jill Wagner travels the country on a quest to find talented craftsmen who still make incredible items by hand. In Jasper, Georgia, Carley Abner is crafting canoes from lightweight cedar. Because of his extremely involved process, they do not require staples to hold the pieces in place. Livonia, Michigan is where Jill finds Nick Hamma, a self-taught woodworker who is making folding Adirondack chairs in the shape of US states. Finally, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Michael Norris is hitting the right note with his intricately crafted wood music stands that have found homes all over the world.


Carley Abner – First Mountain Woodcraft 

Jasper, GACanoes | Website

Carley Abner has spent more than 40 years handcrafting stunning wood heirlooms, including his award-winning kayaks and canoes. On his website, he tells a story about when he and wife, Shirley, were house hunting.

“When we shopped for a home, we got the workshop laid out first, and then designed everything else around it,” he writes.

Apparently, he had his priorities straight. Over the years, Carley turned his love for woodworking into not only a viable business, but also a successful, renowned and booming family enterprise. Every canoe he creates reflects the beauty of the wood, the skill and vision of the maker, and the uniqueness of its future owner. For custom work, Carley and his team work closely with their clients, ensuring they produce a canoe specific to their customers’ needs and wishes, and when possible, he delivers the finished canoe to its new owner.

“There’s nothing like handing over a canoe or kayak we’ve spent weeks or months building and seeing it hit the water for the first time,” Carley says.

Each piece of wood has distinct characteristics, even if it comes from the same tree. Carley hand-selects every piece of wood he uses to construct kayaks and canoes. Then the pieces are strategically-placed to achieve a breathtaking balance of beauty and function.

While his canoes are built to navigate the waters of lakes and deep streams, some customers buy them to hang, purely as works of art!

Nick Hamma – Jack Pine Woodcrafting 

Livonia, MI | Adirondack Chairs | Website

Born in Orlando, Florida, and raised in southeast Michigan, Nick Hamma was always drawn to the great outdoors. In his younger years, he enjoyed wandering in the northern wilderness areas of the state, admiring and contemplating nature, creating objects from wood. After high school woodshop class, it would be nearly a decade before Nick took up woodworking again—completely by chance.

Nick’s girlfriend, at the time, wanted to make a Michigan chair for her brother’s housewarming gift. They built the chair, and after posting on social media, more and more people wanted one, too. Before he knew it, Nick had a full-fledged business up and running with several friends helping out. With orders piling up, Nick quickly learned, through experience and his own artistic talent and skills, how to craft a lovely, quality product. Today, he’s the sole woodworker with a business partner who manages the website and marketing.

Nick believes all businesses and people have a responsibility to give back to their communities. Nick uses mostly Red Cedar sourced from the western US. He donates about 5% of his profits to the National Forest Foundation, and soon plans to personally start planting trees locally throughout Michigan, in communities that could benefit most from it.

Michael Norris – Mr. Standman Music Stands 

Coeur d’Alene, ID | Music Stands | Website

Artist and craftsman, Michael Norris has been designing and creating beautiful and functional, custom-made music stands for almost 30 years. A musician in his own right, who plays harmonium and guitar, he was determined to design the perfect music stand that would meet the specific needs of fellow musicians (amateur and professional), conductors, music students and schools, church choirs, chamber ensembles and others.

Michael handcrafts his music stands from a small shop behind his log home in the forest high about Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. Though he lives mostly off the grid in a rural area (he hasn’t had a TV in 35 years!), Michael still ships his products to customers worldwide, and of course, across the US. He offers more than 75 designs, available in 10 different woods, and a variety of stains.

Though his business keeps him busy, Michael takes time to marvel at the incredible natural beauty that surrounds him. He is an avid hiker and photographer. In addition, he’s been practicing yoga for 15 years and is an accomplished dancer.



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