SHARON — Hardwood Hollow at 190 Baldwin St. is a surprising mix of old and new; an eclectic mix of vintage treasures and one-of-a kind handcrafted wood works.
Owners Kathy Santucci and Chuck Dorn have been evolving what they do over decades; it’s always been related to woodworking and vintage resale.
Stepping into their cozy shop in Sharon is a treat.
Your brain will need a few minutes to adjust to the variety of interesting things gathered together in the relatively small shop.
Near the front of the store the live edge tables stand out. “Live edge” refers to the edges of the tables or furniture that are organic, they edges have not been sawed off to be flat. Instead, the edges retain their natural form minus the bark, which is peeled away to reveal the natural “live edge.”
Dorn, who has worked with wood his entire life, begins making his live edge tables by using full logs.
Dorn sometimes works in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources to retrieve cut or fallen trees from forest preserves. Dorn knows where every single tree comes from. All the logs are cut down to a more workable size on the impressive saw mill was purchased from an Amish community years ago.
After the logs have been cut into manageable slabs of wood, typically 3” thick by 10’long, the wood is cured in a kiln, which stabilizes the wood and kills all insects. All the wood used at Hardwood Hollow is re-purposed or recycled; the pair use no barnwood in their work, and all their wood is kiln dried.
The kiln dried wood slabs become the raw materials Dorn uses in his custom woodworking.
He does a lot of custom woodwork, from designing, building and installing entire kitchens, pantries, bars, bathroom cabinetry, to bedroom sets with matching nightstands, to milling all the lumber and installing hardwood floors.
When Dorn builds a project for a client, the client is sent progress photos, becoming part of the process.
That way there are no unhappy surprises when the project is complete.
Dorn uses no stain. He uses a natural finish preferring to let the inherent beauty of the wood be the star. Dorn custom welds parts for some of his pieces, such as table legs on his live edge tables.
The resulting furniture is a perfect blend of hard and soft.
The reclaimed, kiln dried wooden slabs are also sold on Facebook Marketplace for DIY’ers.
Interested in purchasing slabs of locally sourced kiln dried wood for your next project? Check it out on Facebook Marketplace.
Dorn is a master woodworker/craftsman. Hard to define as he specializes in many types of work. It’s better to say he does lots of custom work, which seems a narrow definition for all that he does.
Kathy Santucci, Dorn’s partner of over 40 years, is the public face of the couple’s operation, Hardwood Hollow. Santucci can often be found working in their storefront in downtown Sharon. “If the lights are on, I’m here,” Santucci says with a smile. If not, the pair are either out collecting, at shows or restocking their wares in several shops that carry their work. “You can always call the number of the door to find out when I’ll be in,” says Santucci.
Her workshop is in the back, out of view of the customers. That’s where she works her brand of magic on the vintage furniture she collects. Collecting trips take them to estates sales, barn sales and actions in northern Wisconsin and west to the Mississippi River. Santucci has a great eye for what people want. She can look at a worn out and tired piece of furniture and know exactly what type of finish to put on it which will cause someone to want to buy the piece, bring it home and enjoy it. When asked what she looks for in an older piece of furniture Santucci replied,” the handles and how the piece has been joined together.”
The couple has traveled thousands of miles over the years buying and selling their wares. The pair does not do the number of shows they used to, but they never miss participating in the Elkhorn Antique show four times a year. Their double booth can be found near the Armory Gate. “We love the cream puffs, the eclairs and the kettle corn.”
Their work can be found year round at: Vintage Etcetera—A Needful Things Market., 203 West Main Street, Rockton; Mama K & Friends Emporium, 32 E. Racine, St, Janesville; and Reclaimed Artisans Inc., 302 Peterson Rd, Libertyville, Illinois.
Of course their shop is in downtown Sharon at 190 Baldwin St.
“I promise we’ll get the name on the red and green striped canvas awning changed one of these days,” says Santucci with a chuckle.