My name is Tom Meitner, and in the summer of 2014, I bought a circular saw and a pile of wood.
Why? Because in the then-four years of marriage my wife and I enjoyed, we were just tearing through furniture. We spent thousands of dollars on dining tables and bedroom sets only to be wildly disappointed when they scratched and even broke with minimal use.
“What happened to the days of furniture that you could keep for decades?” I would whine to people.
And I would look around my parents’ house and my wife’s parents’ house… and see bookshelves that are 50 years old, along with other end tables and pieces of furniture that look the same as they have for decades.
The secret to their durability? Grandfathers.
These were pieces built by my grandpa and my wife’s grandpa. Built by hand, using real, solid wood, and constructed with screws and glue to be as indestructible as wood can be.
So when we became pregnant with our first son in 2014, I decided I was going to learn to build. I wanted my son to have a bookcase to last a lifetime.
A few weeks later (and two rounds of super-expensive oak wood later), my son Jack had a cubby bookcase that is built like a tank and will outlive us all.
I fell in love with building, and I just kept building things. Whenever we needed something, I built it – cabinets, stools, benches, whatever. And the more I built, the more people wanted me to build for them.
So in 2017, I started The E&M Wood Shop as a tribute to the two men who inspired me.
The “E” stands for Elroy, the name of my grandfather. Grandpa sadly passed away when I was only four years old, so I never got to know him as well as my older brothers. But he left behind bookcases and dressers that my family still use to this day. I wish he was still around so I could talk shop with him, but I think about him often when I am building pieces for families – hoping that the pieces they get from my wood shop will last as long as the ones he built.
The “M” stands for Milt, my wife’s grandfather. I’ve gotten to know Papa well in the last decade that my wife and I have been together, and I’ve been blessed to spend some time with him talking about woodworking and learning a little from him. The most important lesson? Use glue as often as possible. If a joint is glued, it’ll last forever. He’s a sweet man and our kids get to use a step stool that he built when they’re brushing their teeth at night. It makes me smile.
Another man my shop is dedicated to is Dan, though the business was started before he became such a contributing factor to it. Dan is the name of the father of one of my best friends. Unfortunately, Dan passed away suddenly in early 2017. I really liked Dan and always looked forward to seeing him a few times a year at birthday parties. I had no idea he was such an accomplished woodworker, and didn’t find out until after he passed. I was very fortunate to be offered to inherit a lot of tools from his shop, including his contractor-level table saw. I use Dan’s table saw just about every day, and I thank him often for being able to use it. It’s a privilege to be able to use his tools on a daily basis.
To me, The E&M Wood Shop is more than a business. It’s a way to pay tribute to these three men who were able to provide so many things for their families over the years. I truly mean that.
I want to help people and families have furniture and other wood pieces that they can keep for as long as they want without ever falling apart. I may make mistakes as I learn, but you will always get the very best effort from me, and I will do everything I can to give you an heirloom piece to pass down for generations.