JH Handcrafters: Beautiful, Custom Woodwork

Over the past several months we have been honored to have John Hall's beautiful creations in the store. This week, we've invited him to share a guest post about his craft. He and his wife, Freda, are a fabulous team.  I'm sure you will enjoy reading their story as much as we have....

My day job was a very enjoyable career as a collegiate choral conductor. In recent years, nights and weekends evolved into what I call a ‘non-profit’ wood working organization with four clients—wife Freda, and three daughters and . . . .“Dad, can you make. . . ?” Primarily these projects were shelves and cabinets.

As retirement neared, we were smitten with a new HGTV show FIXER – UPPER with hosts “Chip and Jo Gaines.” The logical follow-on was a trip to WACO to see for our selves. That trip was life changing.

We happened to be there on an October weekend that turned out to be SILOBRATION 2017. We visited the SILOS, Harp Design, “Jimmy Don’s” and several other shops. Also we met a young woodworking artisan vendor from Greenville, SC who still shares with us his expertise. We returned to Tennessee inspired. (Oh, and we returned to Waco in October 2018)

In 2018 we relocated from West Tennessee to Nashville to be near family. Our Nashville Realtor, Wyatt Rampy – Poplar Hill Realty, had been so helpful; we made a French Pastry Pin for his wife and a large Cherry serving board for him with his business logo laser engraved into the wood. He liked what he had and asked if we could make some for him to give as gifts for his clients? We did. When we delivered the serving boards an Edward Jones agent was visiting and later ordered some serving boards for his clients.


Then Wyatt said, “You need to meet Rachel Risley at THE WREATH STAND.” Rachel offered to stock items we made. Rachel’s associate Joy Morris is also such a strong supporter. Now it seems custom orders for laser engraving are frequent requests along with a Walnut “Catch All” inspired from our trip to Waco.

Back in time to 1946. . . .When my Dad came home from WWII and the US Navy, he started his dream career of owning and operating a poultry business. To advertise his business, he bought some personalized pencils. When Dad passed away in 2017, we found a box of those pencils in his treasures, and parceled them out to family members as if they were gold.

Along the way, the local PBS station on “Tennessee Crossroads” featured a segment about Musgrave Pencil Company in Shelbyville, which I found interesting. Ever the nostalgic, in February I ordered some pencils from Musgrave for JH Handcrafters, and told them why we’d ordered pencils. The pencils came—we were thrilled with their work.

Six weeks later we received an email from Musgrave and an attached a picture of a small Cedar pencil box with the question, “Can you make this?” Never one to shrink from a challenge, we said, “Yes.” . . . . .

Finally, Freda and I get to spend more time together. Sitting across a table assembling pencil boxes from Cedar parts we’d machined, and hand rubbing a specialized finish on a serving board is a time together treasure we didn’t see half century ago. We’ve delivered our first order of pencil boxes. We’ll see what the future holds.

We cannot reduce to prose our appreciation to Rachel at THE WREATH STAND for stocking products we make.

 John & Freda Hall


  • Joseph Miller

    These ideas helped me a lot in many ways to develop my smart woodworking gift set website.

  • Cathy Sewell

    Very proud of this work and of the piece I own made by John. He and Freda are dear friends of ours from my college days.

  • Joy Story Simmons

    JB – I did not know this! How wonderful! I definitely would love to see your art work in the shop. I’ll have to track that down. Best wishes and many happy days ahead for you and Freda. Sure miss seeing you guys around here. However, since my son lives in Nashville now and is doing music (😊) I am there often. Hello to Freda! Joy

Leave a comment