A Q&A with Owner Travis Kemp
Travis Kemp, owner of Wooden Nickel Refinish & Woodcraft Inc., did not take woodshop in middle or high school. His talents were gradually uncovered, smoothed and polished over the years, requiring patience and dedication much like the trade he has worked to master.
How did you get involved in the woodworking trade?
My foreman, Dennis Molm, told me about a job opportunity at Randy’s Relics. I was the grunt. I stripped and sanded lots and lots of furniture. Fast forward 6 1/2 years—I had an opportunity to start my own business at home that allowed me to spend time with my newborn son, Spencer. As my business grew, my good friend, Rich Williams, was working for a cabinetmaker/craftsman named Mike McClurg. He needed to downsize, and I was looking for space. It was a very nice transition.
What are your specialties?
Wooden Nickel Refinish & Woodcraft Inc. specializes in antique and contemporary furniture refinish, repair and restoration. We offer in-home and on-site touch-up service, many custom finishes and custom woodworking, including some cabinetmaking and furniture design.
What has contributed to your success?
We are successful because this is a very specialized service and many people are interested in preserving what they already have.
Are there any challenges?
The biggest challenge of my trade is balancing efficient labor with the rising cost of raw materials to consistently deliver a quality product to my clients.
Why do you love what you do?
My favorite aspect of the trade is the variety and odd stories and situations that come along with every piece. I have made some clients tear up after seeing a finished piece. I even impress myself with some of the things I have been able to learn and apply over the years.