Casey McCafferty used to work in banking where he received a paycheck every two weeks. Now he works as a furniture builder where he is paid with less regularity. But despite that uncertainty, he is happier now.

“I need to make a living and provide for my wife and myself, but I need to do something that I love every day too,” McCafferty said.

McCafferty said he has been woodworking in earnest for five to six years now, and opened his business, CBM Woodworks, five months ago. Before that he was working out of a location in downtown Los Angeles, but once he moved to Santa Monica a year and a half ago he started looking for a location closer to home.

He finally stumbled upon a shop on the border of Santa Monica and Venice.

“Us being here has been a big deal in the neighborhood,” McCafferty said. “There are luxury condos behind us. And we are trying to use heavy machines there and build out machine rooms while getting the neighborhood to not hate us. We’re working, trying to get the neighborhood to understand that it’s supposed to be a creative area.”

McCafferty still goes back and forth between the Westside and his Los Angeles location, as he needs to pull in as much money as he can in order to pay the shop’s expenses. And he tries to bring in that money all while charging what he thinks is a fair price for his goods.

“I’m competing with stores like Pottery Barn and Ikea, and it’s just impossible to do that. It’s hard trying to make people everywhere understand what true craft products are and how much time goes into each piece.”

McCafferty is a self-taught craftsman who first became interested in working with his hands as a child.

“My father, who was a firefighter in New York City, he was always kind of doing things himself because he didn’t believe in paying other people to do it. So I kinda got the itch from that. And then woodworking, that was the medium that spoke to me. So this kind of unraveled from that point and I just kind of immersed myself in building furniture. First as a hobbyist, and now this.”

McCafferty is still new to the business, so the majority of his products are commissioned designs, either from companies that can afford it and individuals who want heirloom pieces and are willing to pay for what they are getting.

“Furniture is expensive. So there are some clients, upper middle class people, who know that if a chair costs $1,200 … it is going to be something they are going to keep forever. Then companies, a lot of creative companies, reach out to me. I did something for a commercial editing company in Santa Monica where everyone got to design their desk themselves. So that’s the understanding of people knowing what high quality furniture costs, and is worth.”

But McCafferty said not everyone has that understanding.

“You have people who call you up saying ‘Can you build this thing from Pottery Barn for me, but at a cheaper price?’ And they think a one-man show is going to be able to do it cheaper than a bigger company.”

Right now McCafferty is excited to be moving into a phase where he is making his own designs. He will be showing some of those pieces at the WestEdge Design Fair in Santa Monica Oct. 22 – 25 at the Barker Hanger, 3021 Airport Ave.

“I will have a 5 x 10 booth to set up a room with five to six pieces of my furniture in it. Most of the attendees are architects and interior designers. So it is a big chance to see if what you’re designing is going to work, is going to sell. It’s my first time getting to show my work for real.”

CBM Woodworks is located at 715 Hampton Dr. To find out more about the shop visit http://www.cbmwoodworks.com.

jennifer@www.smdp.com

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