Wood Works with Loomis Native, Lee Hinge
Growing up in Loomis, woodworker Lee Hinge spent hours exploring the scenery of Folsom Lake and the surrounding forests—natural beauty that’s now reflected in the pieces he handcrafts for his business, Shorebreak Designs. Using reclaimed and unique varieties of wood (including exotic offerings from Africa and South America)—often left in their natural state—he creates one-of-a-kind items that are both practical and pretty. Whether you need a cutting board, pizza peel, feeder for Fido, or a custom design project, Hinge is up for the challenge.
HLB: When did you learn woodworking?
LH: I took woodshop in high school, but that was 20 years ago, so most of what I do is self-taught. [Since] I’m a visual person, if I can see it in my head, I can usually build it. I started by making a cutting board for a friend, [which ended up being] a hit. She showed it off and someone else wanted one, then someone else, and so on. After, I started reclaiming exotic woods for butcher blocks, pizza peels, cheese boards, etc.
HLB: Do you make custom pieces?
LH: Custom creations are my favorite. Everyone usually has an idea [of what they want] in their head or has seen a picture of something, so I take that, add onto it and make it come to life.
HLB: How do you translate nature through your designs?
LH: Nature is fascinating and beautiful. To help show that off, I don’t use any stains or dyes—I let the natural color and grain patterns of the wood speak for itself. My favorite part is putting a natural oil on the wood and watching it come to life. A lot of my inspiration comes from going out [in nature] and searching for unique woods and grain patterns.
HLB: Do you have any secret spots for FINDING reclaimed wood?
LH: I don’t have a favorite spot, but I was once told if you find a unique piece of wood, buy it—even if you don’t have a project in mind—so I have tons of wood I save for special projects. I’ll walk past it 100 times, then suddenly I’ll look at it and have a great idea of what to make.
HLB: What makes a business successful?
LH: A satisfied and happy customer is what it’s all about. I’ve always tried to add extra details and accents to “wow” the customer, which is also my advice to anyone starting out: Pay attention to all the little details; it all counts.
HLB: What’s in store for the future?
LH: I’d really like to start some type of school or offer classes where people can work with their hands and have fun with loud music. In addition, I’d like to keep expanding my knowledge of woodworking. In this industry, you’re always learning new stuff.