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Lovettsville’s Nathan Hackett gives wood new life by creating unique furniture

Nathan Hackett created woodwork for Creek’s Edge Winery in Lovettsville. Times-Mirror/Ed Felker
Anyone who has walked through the doors of Creek’s Edge Winery in Lovettsville has noticed the spectacular handcrafted community tables inside. The organic shape of these live edge, walnut tables are warm, inviting gathering places and great conversation starters, making them perfect additions to a tasting room setting.

The tables were designed and built by local woodworker Nathan Hackett.

A Virginia native, Hackett got his start as a high school senior working in a cabinet shop in Yorktown. Entry level work in a cabinet shop typically means sanding doors by hand all day. It was a job, but definitely not a career.

He wanted to learn more. So he approached the workers who applied the spray finish and learned that skill. He eventually left that shop, and over the years repeated the pattern of starting at a shop, learning new skills, advancing through the ranks and eventually leaving when seniority or other factors prevented further progress.

Hackett was working in North Carolina when he met his future wife. When she wanted to move back to this area to be closer to her family, he joined her. After a few different jobs here, including building and installing high-end wine cellars up and down the East Coast, he decided to take all the skills he had learned along the way and go out on his own.

So he bought some machinery and set up his garage, taking care of their kids while his wife worked, taking on projects to do in the evenings. His business has been steadily growing ever since, through only word-of-mouth and social media.

Creating something beautiful and functional from wood is a special gift. And the piece is even more special when it’s made from local wood, which Hackett tries to use whenever possible.

“We take a tree that’s down and give it another life that’s going to last for generations,” he said, running his hands over the top of one of the Creek’s Edge tables. “That table is never going to rot. It’s all in the joinery, the notching and interlocking.”

Whether he uses big, live edge slabs or reclaimed wood from old buildings, “every piece is unique,” he said. “One of a kind.”

When he takes on a project like a live edge table, he first looks at the space where it will go and determines what size will fit the area. “You don’t want to crowd the space,” he said. Then he searches for the right slab. Table bases are often left up to him to design something that fits the top just right.

“I like to stare at wood for a while,” Hackett said. Once the slab is selected, milled down and smoothed, the process has really just begun. “I sit back and visualize a base that will work for it.”

The finish is an entire process as well, and one that cannot by rushed. “Finishing is another world,” he said. “You get into finishing and you look at it in a different way.”

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