The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Village Craftsman

By Alan Woods

Issue: November, 1983

village craftsman"Smokey", the antique reproduction rocking horse made by Alan Woods.The sign on the frame house says “The Village Craftsman.” The shop is on west Lebanon Street in Mount Airy, North Carolina. When you enter, you will be greeted by Alan Woods or his wife Penny and surrounded by various handcrafted wooden home decorator accessories and exquisite antique reproduction furniture.

The “specialty” of the shop is beautifully handmade replicas of an antique child’s rocking horse called Smokey. The original is in the Black Creek Pioneer Village Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was shown a photograph of the original and I couldn’t tell the difference. Alan has a registered copyright on the replica design. The finish is aged to look perfectly authentic. He uses only original formula milk paints in the original eight colors used by early American craftsmen and hand cut nails in all of his creations. Each one is signed, dated and numbered.

Alan Woods’ credentials as a furniture maker are prestigious. He studied in Canada under Master European Craftsmen for eight years. (His specialty is still early French Canadian reproduction.)

All of Alan’s work is hand planned. You will never see a machine mark on any of his work. Whatever the period, he uses the original construction of the piece he is duplicating. He can exactly duplicate a piece of furniture from only a photograph. He even hunts old wood that would be from the same time period if at all possible. He can assure you of a piece of furniture that is museum quality. He worked for two years doing restoration work for the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. In 1981, he was featured in the “Toronto Life” magazine as one of the most reputable people in the country to handle restoration work for antiques. He has experience in French polishing, veneer inlay, touch up, carving, gliding and gold leafing. All of his work is guaranteed.

Alan is currently restoring a 1915 carousel, one of the original hand carved ones by Illion. He says it’s a masterpiece of craftsmanship.

Penny Woods is apprentice woodworker to her husband and is making original design home decorator items to sell in their shop and at craft shows such as The Handcrafters Guild of Mount Airy’s Christmas Show, November 19, 1983, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the N.C. National Guard Armory on Highway 52 By-Pass in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

The Woods are available for lectures and demonstrations on anything pertaining to furniture for groups or radio or television shows.

Alan Woods is a serious student of antique reproduction. He spent ten years of his life in formal study in every aspect from architectural and mechanical drafting to advanced training in wood carving at George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario.

The shop of Alan Woods, The Village Craftsman, offers a unique blend of the service of both restoring a beloved antique to its former glory or an antique you’ve always wanted reproduced in identical detail. There are probably few people in America today with as much knowledge, experience and the capability of Alan Woods in his craft.

If you wish to contact him, his business phone is (919) 789-4953. He is a friendly, smiling man who is enjoyable to meet, do business with or just talk with for awhile.