Grand County woodworker loves everything about his job
September 9, 2008
Idlewild Woodworks, LLC, celebrates five years of success and owner Mark Hunnicutt said he can’t see himself doing anything else.
When the master carpenter came to Colorado, he came for the same reason many people come; and like many of those people, he too couldn’t bare to leave. That first year he moved from Minnesota, “the heartland of cabinet making,” a decade ago, to snowboard and mountain bike among the vast terrain of Grand County. He had been vacationing here since the late 1980s and with 10 years of woodworking skills under his belt he found work in general construction, mostly framing homes.
Hunnicutt loves working with his hands and comes from a long line of woodworkers; his great, great granddad brought the family skill with him to America when he immigrated from Norway, and his dad is a manufacturing engineer and craftsman. Hunnicutt and his dad worked on several projects growing up and Mark went on to study engineering at the University of Minnesota, in Duluth.
Interested in the structural and civil end of the field and as a logical problem solver, he said he still thinks like an engineer. With “everything double-checked,” “things get done right the first time,” he said. “I put a lot of detail and effort into everything.”
Hunnicutt worked his way into establishing his own carpentry business, starting in a small rented garage in Granby and in the last few years estimates he’s worked on about 30 projects a year. He upgraded to a bigger shop about two years ago, working in Bay No. 3 at the Pole Creek Fabrication property which also features a spray booth.
Specialties include “all the ins and outs of the trade:” solid-wood bar tops, laminate counter tops, wine cellars, libraries, walk-in closets, storage space and shelving (including angled shoe racks); cabinets, commercial store fixtures, and build-ins on just about everything, commercial and residential. He’ll make just about anything out of traditional hardwoods (non-log) and says he still loves “smelling that wood dust around” ” cubbies and benches to match existing features, custom furniture (entertainment centers, dressers, tables, chairs), and “things you can’t buy off the shelf.”
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“I’ve always liked making stuff. I love it … seeing something done at the end of the day,” he said. “It’s tangible … every day, living the dream up here. Each day is different.”
He lives for that one-of-a-kind stuff and works mostly with contractors. Some of his work may be viewed at the Untamed Southwest Grill in Winter Park (bar and tables, remodeled wait stations), the Pearl Dragon in Fraser (laminate work), Winter Park Winery in Fraser (bar top and wine rack), and at the coffee bars at Winter Park Resort.
He whipped out a matching refrigerator panel for the HGTV dream home at Bridger’s Cache when the one delivered the wrong size and filming scheduled just two days later, and has also donated his time and skill toward Habitat for Humanity projects in the area for the last six years.
“I have a skill they can use,” he said of the good cause. “It’s just nice to do ” help out the community you live in.”
Admittedly lacking on the business-side of things, Hunnicutt said he’s “good at workin'” and that the important things are quality, timeliness and price. “I never pushed the business really hard until the last few years,” he said, adding that most of his work has been by referral and that once customers use him “they keep comin’ back.”