By Adrienne Perron
Photographed by Danielle Sykes
From our February 2022 issue
1. Justin Upton’s Heartwood Designs is named for his two passions: woodworking and the human heart. Exotic and colorful woods like purpleheart and padauk are the lifeblood of the Dedham-based cardiac sonographer’s boards. He’ll spend more than an hour rearranging different species and colors of wood into a pattern before gluing the pieces together. Striped walnut, maple, cherry, wenge, and padauk board, $125.
2. Mary Zambello and Will Folsom, of Windham’s Reclaimed Maine Co., let the natural beauty of the wood, sustainably harvested mostly from Maine and New Hampshire, speak for itself. Zambello freehands the spruce design using a scroll saw, so no two boards are the same. “They’re unique, like trees in the forest,” she says. Walnut Maine-spruce board with handle, $85.
3. To finish his charcuterie boards, Russ Nigro doesn’t sand them. Instead, the Bernard-based woodworker uses a card scraper, which has a varnishing effect that enhances a board’s color and brings out a luster in the finish. But his Bosco Nigro boards aren’t perfect — he draws each without a template, just eyeballing the shape. “If it’s too perfect, it looks like it was manufactured by a machine,” he says. Small round board with handle, $125.
4. Jen Holsten took her first woodworking class at Rockport’s Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in 2002, during her 22-year stint as head coach of the Colby College women’s soccer team. Now, the Peaks Island resident has her own serving- and cutting-board business, Bear Isle Board Company. She channels her love of sea glass into the shape and texture of her boards, which are rounded at the edges and soft to the touch. Meat-cleaver–shaped board, $128.
5. After his workshop was lost to a fire, in 2020, Bruce Graybill, of Sider’s Woodcrafting, wasn’t sure how his business would recover. Then, last February, he posted a TikTok video of himself pouring epoxy to create a river-like design on his friend’s floor. Forty-eight hours and five million views later, everything on his website had sold. Now, the Brewer-based business has more than 150,000 TikTok followers who watch the charismatic and talented Graybill cut, smooth, and assemble cutting boards, serving boards, and furniture. Rectangular cherrywood board, $113.
6. Peggy Farrington’s YouTube channel, PF Woodturning, has nearly 25,000 subscribers who love watching Farrington turn logs into bowls and more. Although serving trays aren’t made by turning, the Scarborough-based Farrington uses discarded wood from other projects to make boards, like this maple one, using inlaid resin to highlight defects in wood instead of throwing imperfect pieces away. Honeycomb serving tray with black matte handles, $215.