— Ever since child-hood, Andy Cole has enjoyed the outdoors and the recreational pleasures it provides, like hunting, hiking and fishing. But over the past several years he has taken advantage of the natural materials it provides as well.
After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in landscape architecture, Cole decided to go out on a limb. He wanted to stick his passion into building rustic furniture with the hopes of one day branching out into a full-time business. If you leaf through a Timber Home or Living and Log Homes magazine, you likely will see photos of his work.
During the day, Cole works with his father in their family’s concrete and excavation business. But most evenings he can be found working in his spacious shop tucked away in western Howard County. Forget about seeing him in any lumberyard purchasing his supply of hardwood. Instead, he selects his materials from the property of family and friends. With a little sweat and his own two hands, he will take a tree from blow-down to bookcase.
“I get to do two things at once,” he said with a smile, “like scout for deer and look for logs.”
His process begins with searching woodlots for storm-damage or other dead trees of suitable size and species.
“I never use anything that is alive,” he explained.
Even though the trees may have died for one reason or another, he meticulously brings them back to life. His favorite choices of timber include walnut, cherry or hard maple.
“They are good woods because of their beauty and strength,” he explained. “It’s also nice because they are readily available.”
After finding his material he then drags out the logs with the help of a skid-loader. He then cut them into slabs 2 1/2 inches thick. From here, they then go into his shop where he spends hours sawing, milling and shaping the wood, eventually crafting it into unique, one-of-a-kind furniture.