Midwest Woodturners opens new showroom

Classes gaining popularity and growing

TOWN OF MARTELL Midwest Woodturners officially opened the doors to its new Town of Martell space in September, while welcoming people at a grand opening event Tuesday, Nov 9. The business has been operating since 2015 and has continuously grown into what it is today.

Founder of Midwest Woodturners Chad Stevenson started making smaller items out of the back of his truck when he first began Midwest Woodturners.

“We have been in business since 2015 and we started out of the trunk of my car at the Red Wing farmers market and my basement selling small items like pens, wine bottle stoppers, small handles and stuff like that,” he said.

He started woodturning as a hobby when he was 13 and joined a local woodturning club. He mentored under some renowned professionals and started this as his “side hustle” when he turned 18.

“My grandparents’ neighbor was a full-time professional woodworker in Arizona, so I would fly out with them during breaks and I realized that it was something I really wanted to continue doing,” Stevenson said.

Woodturning is a form of woodworking that uses a tool called a lathe. In regular woodworking, the wood remains still and the tool moves to create cuts. In woodturning, the cutter is stationary while the wood is what turns.

Once Stevenson realized this was his true passion, he decided to immerse himself more in the practice of woodturning.

“I also joined a woodworking club and during that, there was a gentleman by the name of Steve Sinner who is a world master woodturner, so he took me under his wing and I was mentored with him,” he said.

In 2016, Stevenson started integrating epoxy into the products he created.

“I started integrating epoxy to my work, and at the time it was kind of a new thing and we started doing more of that and by 2019 it dominated what we were making,” said Stevenson.

During the pandemic, business slowed similarly to other local businesses. Once they could, they started holding classes teaching people about the epoxy method and allowing people to be a part of the process.

“We couldn’t go to any art shows when the pandemic hit so we had to restructure a little bit, and then we started to have customers come in and do a pour party so they could be a part of the process and that turned into an educational based epoxy class,” he said.

These classes helped the business take off after the pandemic restrictions lessened. The classes started small and have gradually gotten more and more traction from the community. Future classes are listed and available on their website.

In addition to making the items they normally sell, they also offer commissioned pieces and custom orders. People can bring in their own wood that they would like to use; they encourage many to be a part of the design process when custom ordering and they can do a range of products from charcuterie boards to large furniture items.

“We can do coffee tables, dining room tables, we do bar tops quite a bit and another newer one that we can do is sliding interior barn doors and those can take up to three to four weeks and they can be a large part of the design process,” said Stevenson.

The business has hired on three new people recently and Stevenson is hoping to continue to expand and grow with the community.

“We have been so busy so we are hiring; we recently hired on some new employees in the last two weeks and we would like to try to get two more people before the end of the year,” said Stevenson.

Sustainability is also at the forefront of priorities for Midwest Woodturners. All of their wood comes from as much repurposed wood as possible. They work in collaboration with sustainable tree harvesting companies.

“We are part of the urban salvage movement with timber, so it is sustainable tree harvesting and we partner with the Down to Earth Tree Service and we only remove hazardous and dying trees for our products and then we repurpose as much of the tree as we can,” Stevenson said.

They also donate a portion of their proceeds to replanting trees as well.

The business is continuously looking toward the future while also embracing the local business side of their growth. Currently they try to sell and produce products and conduct classes in western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities, and they hope to continue to reach more people each year.

Currently for custom orders there is a three- to-fourweek turnaround for smaller items and a eight- to-tenweek turnaround for larger furniture items. To inquire about custom pieces, call Stevenson directly at 651309-7449.

To learn more about Midwest Woodturners and to see some of the pieces they make, visit midwestwoodturners. com and their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Midwest Woodturners is located at N8143 US Highway 63, Spring Valley (near the former Red Barn/current Highway 29 Express). They can also be reached at 651300-5053.

Some of the products on display at the Midwest Woodturners showroom; the charcuterie boards feature the unique epoxy used with the wood finishing. Photo by Melissa Thorud

Chad Stevenson in the showroom at Midwest Woodturners, where many pieces are available for purchase. Charcuterie boards are one of the most popular items made by Midwest Woodturners. Photo by Melissa Thorud

Midwest Woodturners held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony with the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at their town of Martell showroom. Business owner Chad Stevenson, of Ellsworth, cuts the ribbon. Photo courtesy of Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce

November 23, 2021