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From Hurricane to Coffee Tables

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“If people can be patient about getting the trees off of their lawn, we can do things with them,” Kimball says. It’s worth the wait, he says, because “if a tree has been part of your home and your family for years, it would be a shame to let it become firewood.”

Primarily, Kimball crafts one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, specifically matching them to other furniture in a house. He grew up in a family of woodworkers in Wolfeboro, N.H., where his father still lives and works.

From his shop near Richmond’s North Side, Kimball does most of the preparation for his pieces and shuns most modern machinery. “We’re pretty old school,” he says. “I like to be able to do the same things people would be doing 200 years ago.”

Kimball says he tries to work with clients who will appreciate the detail and commitment he puts into his work. Part of that involves a tour of the shop. “It gives them an education they can’t get anywhere else,” he says. “Whether or not they buy from us, I’ve changed the way they look at furniture.”

Now Kimball wants to change the way they see the disaster of Hurricane Isabel — as an opportunity. “I’d like for people to be able to look at a table created from one of these trees and say, ‘That storm might have been bad, but without it, we wouldn’t have this table.” — Charlie Ban

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