Saltillo woodworker builds custom pieces to last a lifetime at Shed Wolf

·3 min read

Feb. 27—SALTILLO — When Chris Kramer moved out of his parents' house in California to go to culinary school, he decided he wanted to make his own bedroom furniture for his new place.

The pieces he built were simple. He crafted a bed frame out of construction-grade wood and a side table from fence pickets.

"I learned by watching countless, countless hours of YouTube," he said. "The pieces weren't anything extravagant. I've refined my skills and learned different techniques since moving to Mississippi."

Kramer, 33, was born and raised in San Diego. After culinary school, he moved to the Pacific Northwest, then to Texas, then back to the Pacific Northwest, all the while working in restaurants.

In 2018, he saved up enough money to take a road trip across the United States. Along the way, he met a young woman named Anne. Three weeks later, the two were married.

"She was living in Belden at the time, so I moved there to be with her," Kramer said. "Then we moved to Tupelo, and now we're in Saltillo."

When Kramer first got here, he starting acquiring woodworking tools. He got a job with Paradox Escape Rooms building rooms and props.

Then Tupelo businesswoman Bev Crossen hired him to be a handyman, and he started building furniture for Indigo Cowork on Main Street in Tupelo. He also built the menu for Crossen's restaurant, Noon.

"But I really wanted to focus on woodworking," he said. "I did cooking for so long, but that only gives people temporary happiness."

Today, Kramer has his own shop in his two-car garage at the home he and Anne share with their 3-year-old daughter, Olive. He calls his business Shed Wolf.

"I don't have a lot of space for some of the equipment needed, but so far I haven't been limited on what I can and can't do," he said.

As soon as he started taking commissions, the work orders poured in.

"The first piece I did was a chevron-patterned bench," Kramer said. "They sent me a picture and said, 'Can you do something like this?' and I said, 'Absolutely.'"

Since then, he's built everything from beds, bookcases, bedside tables and benches to desks, kitchen cabinets, credenzas and dining tables.

"Dining tables are the most popular pieces I build," he said. "I think it's because everyone wants something in their home that's personal, and a table is something that will last for generations."

Kramer likes to use black walnut, cherry, ash and oak when he works because he says they're the most versatile.A s far as style, Kramer said he usually gravitates toward mid-century modern, Japanese and Scandinavian.

"I was never around that as a kid," he said. "My parents had very traditional furniture."

Right now, Kramer has several commissions underway. He's building an L-shaped desk, an eight-seat dining table, a media cabinet, an urn for ashes, and some kitchen cabinets.

"I like to do custom pieces," he said. "It's more special for the customer and for me, too. I feel very fortunate to do what I do for a living. To give somebody something that's going to be permanent in their lives is very rewarding."