What started out as a hobby and educational experience for Justin Franke and his wife Valerie has turned into a small part-time business venture.
The couple opened the family-owned “Oak Street Wood & Steel” blacksmith and woodworking business out of their home in Farber during Labor Day weekend.
They also launched a Facebook page at “Oak Street Wood and Steel.”
The blacksmith side of the business began when Justin Franke had an interest in the craft.
“It’s something I’ve always had an interest in since I was little,” he said.
He noted that the skill ran in the family.
The anvil he uses survived the great depression and was likely passed down four generations.
Through reading online articles and books, he learned the craft and built his own foundry.
He does make many of his own tools.
His creations now for sale include tripods used for camp fires, fire pokers, homemade knives, and more.
“This whole venture has been learn as I go,” Justin Franke said.
While he has his own creations, he is eager to work on custom jobs for customers.
As for woodworking, he has found success in making candle logs with the wood he finds. He enjoys bringing out the beauty of the wood with the creations.
“Every piece of wood has its own beauty,” he said.
The couple is also making wooden ornaments that are handpainted by Valerie Franke.
Justin Franke is using his background in woodworking with 4-H and knowledge through experimentation on his projects.
They also do custom orders and are willing to try new creations. Currently, they are working on snowmen figures.
“My wife and I are both of the opinion that if we do something for someone, we want it to last,” Justin Franke noted. “…We try to give someone the best quality we can.”
Justin Franke said if customers have an idea of a custom creation they would like, that they could send photos through their Facebook page.
He also wanted to remind potential customers that some projects could take a while to create as this business is part-time.
The couple had a booth at a craft event in Paris recently and have more events likely to be scheduled in the near future. For more information, call 660-341-8395 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.