LINGLE – Brian Ingram’s kitchen table is an eye-catcher.
It’s a farmhouse-style table, a good size for his small family, but big enough to fit more places if their needed. The first thing you’ll notice is a nice, finished and stained wooden top. The trestle underneath is white. It looks like one you might see on Pinterest or an episode of ‘Fixer Upper,’ but that’s just until you get up close.
That’s when you can notice little quirks – a cross, a humanoid figure, and a few other unique shapes are carved into the top. It’s those designs that make the table unlike any other dinner table in the world.
“There’s not another one like it,” Ingram said. “There are similar ones, but I carved in drawings that my kids made. It has that personality, and that is something that my wife and I are going to take with me where ever we go. It’s not a throwaway piece like most of the furniture is today.”
Built to last, with personal touches – that’s a good way to sum up Ingram’s work at Jackalope Custom Woodwork, which he operates out of his garage in Lingle. He builds furniture, custom signage, fancy dog kennels that help pooches live like doctors, and pretty much anything you’d ever need out of wood – but with personal touches you won’t find from a big-box store.
“There’s a lot of competition out there with Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart selling rustic signage and stuff,” he said. “If you want something that everybody else has, you can go to Hobby Lobby and spend $20 on it. If you want something that’s 100 percent unique and there are zero signs out there like that one, I can do it.”
Ingram, an eight-year veteran of the United States Air Force, was born into a family of carpenters. His father, grandfather and uncle were all woodworkers, but their work was more in the construction world than the custom world, which laid the foundation for Ingram’s work. But, during his teenage years, working with wood wasn’t one of his interests.
While his family gave him a taste of woodworking, he didn’t really start learning how to build things on his own until he was a homeowner. The rest, all of the fine details that are essential to his work now, mostly came from trial and error – and Youtube.
“We bought our first house about 12 years ago, and fixing up that house during the DIY craze, I kind of got into that and started buying tools,” he said. “My dad, his dad, and his brother were all woodworkers. I found it kind of interesting, but kind of not. During my teenage years, I didn’t really care for all of that. But I guess you could say that kind of laid the foundation.
“Really, it was owning my own house and wanting to do all of the upgrades myself. You can go online and find resources. Youtube is an excellent resource for that.”
The trial-and-error portion of Ingram’s process is evident in his shop. He has a burn pile full of pieces that look perfectly fine on first look, but there’s something about them Ingram has noted. That pile is evidence of his attention to detail and determination to deliver a higher-quality product than his mass-produced competition.
“I get a lot of people wanting me to compete with prices,” he said. “It just doesn’t work that way. They have mass-production places that make dressers 100 at a time out of the cheapest material possible.
“I won’t build out of the cheapest stuff, and I don’t make 100 of one thing. If you want a dining room table like ours, it’s 100 percent custom.”
And if you seek out Ingram to build something for you, yours will be one of a kind, too.
“Being able to do it yourself, you take pride in that,” he said. I built that. I didn’t just go out and buy it, whether people buy my stuff or not. But they do – I have a couple of pieces in some local houses here and I’m proud of that. I have my name on that.”