Kathy Bassett's column, "The View from Maybell," appears in the Saturday Morning Press.
Have you ever looked at something and said, "Oh we can do that"?
Those were the words Tim Hicks voiced to Candy Hicks one day after browsing the Internet and discovering juniper furniture.
Candy thought he was crazy and maybe he just meant to "do that" as a hobby.
But he was serious, and now Tim and Candy Hicks, have a beautiful furniture-making business using juniper wood locally harvested around Maybell.
They did more research on the Internet and worked from trial and error. Starting in a small, drafty, dark and run-down trailer, they had no proper tools. Tim scraped the bark off with pliers, screwdrivers and a brass pipe fitting. Sanding was all done by hand.
Then, they found out they could pressure wash the bark off, so they lugged a few pieces to the car wash and were very disappointed that it didn't work.
But then they heard about a special nozzle. They now have their own pressure washer in a much nicer, newer shop and have graduated to real sanders.
Sometimes they get a project done so fast they wonder whether they forgot a step.
They are self-taught, but it doesn't come real easy.
First of all, they have to go out and find the perfect piece of wood.
Candy has learned that if Tim says. "It will only take a couple of hours," that she should pack a lunch with plenty of drinks and plan to be gone all day. If he mentions "shortcut" she knows she could get there faster by walking. And she doesn't forget the cell phone in case they get stuck. If there is a road or even a hint of a road, Tim will find a way to get over it, around it, or through it with a truck and gooseneck trailer.
They always take a camera along to document the current situation they might find themselves in, to save for memories.
One trip out involved digging up some root bases and, of course, it was "real easy to get to and would only take a few hours."
After they spent a while digging the root bases out, they loaded them one at a time and hauled them uphill using a two-wheel-drive 4-Wheeler and 4-Wheeler trailer with a plastic tub. The roots were so heavy the tub flattened out, but Candy, full of gusto, drove the rigs uphill, with Tim running and pushing the 4-wheeler from behind. It took all day to get the two stumps out, and it happened to be a day when Candy didn't take anything to eat.
Tim and Candy are a husband and wife team, and they would prefer to remain as a family business, not a factory-type operation. Every piece of furniture is hand-crafted and gets great attention to detail. Customers have come to realize that they are getting a "one of a kind" product that will make a great family heirloom.
Sometimes, Tim and Candy's little kiddos, who are 3 and 5 years old, like to come out and help their mom and dad by pounding nails in boards or doing some scroll work on the benches with the Dremal tool.
The Hicks are selling nationally and internationally from their Web site, www.rockymountain-twist.com. A few retailers are featuring their work, and they are looking for one local company to feature their work, as well.
They have an "open door" policy allowing people to stop by their shop any time, look through their collection of wood and pick out the pieces that feel right. They will then combine art and craftsmanship to bring to life that "impossible to find" item for the customer's home.
Browsing through pictures on their Web site gives a good indication of what beautiful meticulous work they do on each item they produce.
Maybell grows by 1
Congratulations to the Mussers for upping the population of Maybell by one.
They had a baby boy on Jan. 8, 2009, and named him Orion Grant Musser.