PARRY SOUND — If you’re in the market for custom-made wooden chairs, tables, bunk beds — even cribbage boards and charcuterie trays — you name it — I Branched Out is it.
Inside Ryan McKeown’s small River Street workshop and studio are a number of ready-made pieces and those waiting to be cut, sanded and moulded into the next functionally striking piece.
Also the owner of Ryan’s Cottage Maintenance and Repair, McKeown opened the space in December 2018 after working out of his home-based shop for a number of years.
“I’ve been playing around with woodworking for a long time,” he said. “Last winter I was busy doing stuff at my shop, doing welding, but I had too much sawdust around, so I’d have to clean the whole garage out to do welding, and it just wasn’t efficient.”
McKeown said that, with his successful summer business, he was looking for something to do during the winter months.
“I’m selling more of the bigger pieces and a lot of commissioned pieces — where people will come in and say, ‘Well, I like that, but can you do it like this?’ I get a lot of that,” he said. “If (customers) want something, they can bring me a picture of what they want, and I can do it. I’ve done one table that was 14 feet long and just shy of five feet wide, and three inches thick.”
Additionally, McKeown specializes in “live-edge” pieces, leaving the gnarly and beautiful textured edges of the trees intact, becoming part of the finished product.
“A lot of my wood comes from the City of Toronto and a guy who has a contract with them to take down trees or ones that have fallen down. I also do a lot of the epoxy pieces, and people just love them. Once you mix it up and you pour it, the epoxy pigment does whatever it wants to do — it’s neat.”