October 24, 2014
Jeanette Elliott's Woodshop: Building Furniture to Last a Lifetime
Author's note: Last week, as chilly October winds blew off Lake Michigan, I traveled down Blue Star Highway, which runs north to south almost within sight of elegant homes, barely hidden on direct side roads to the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The Highway was littered with fancy restaurants and antique shops, like nearby summer Lake homes, closed for the winter.
In front of one store, still open, was a "marked down" display of ''Elegant, Hand Made Chesapeake/ Adirondack deck chairs", at the "special price" of $359.99 each.
I stopped and checked them out. They were poorly constructed and designed -- pale comparisons to those described in the story below. At about twice the price.
So, want the best and the best price in anything wood, stop by Jeannette Elliott's in Battle Creek. No Lake view at her place. But what a skilled craftsman.
Jeanette Elliott’s Woodshop:
Building Furniture to Last a Lifetime
Long before Jeanette Elliott graduated from Harper Creek High School in 1981, she knew what she wanted to do in life: build beautiful, functional, sturdy things from wood that people could use and cherish for their lifetime, and likely the lifetimes of their children.
Elliott is the sole, passionate proprietor, and one employee, of Elliott’s Woodshop, located at 449 N. Bedford Road (M-37), just North of Morgan Road.
Almost anything you want, and can be fashioned from wood, Elliott can make – -- floating boat docks, historic fire station doors, kitchen cabinets, custom deer blinds, library shelves, retail display units – but her specialty seems to be lovingly designed and built summer furniture: Adirondack chairs, picnic tables, wishing wells, fun tete-a-tete chairs, tables – and almost all of very sturdy, lasting cedar and white Oak woods.
Elliott tries to purchase all of her wood and other materials from U.S. manufacturers, and says her furniture and other creations are better made than those sold in the parking lots of Lowe’s or K-Mart, and which usually are from China or somewhere else overseas.
“My passion for wood and woodworking began in 7th grade shop class,” Elliott said with a laugh, removing the safety glasses she’d been wearing while operating a table saw. “And I do whatever it takes to make my business possible.”
That translates into even cleaning school building hallways, classrooms and toilets on a part-time basis, and being thankful for that source of income; while she maintains an 8 to 10 hour Woodshop and display center schedule.
“Oh, I like to work hard. And this is relaxing. There aren’t too many woodshops still operating these days. But my “open” sign is still ‘on’, and I’m thankful for what I have,” she said.
More information about products and Woodshop hours is available by contacting Elliott at 269.962.3700 or 269.965.6732.