All Cain Anne Beachum wanted was for her husband Chris to build a dining room table for their Bluff Park home after they got married. What she got was a walnut and alder dining room table, a husband with extensive knowledge and skills in woodworking, and a small business bearing the couple’s last name.
“Chris is very thorough,” Cain Anne, 30, says as she rewinds to the starting point of Chris’s woodworking and the creation of Beachum Woodworks. “I basically asked for a table, so he learned how to woodwork in the process.”
If Chris, 29, was going to build a table, he was going to learn how to build it correctly, he says. “My theory was I didn’t want to do it twice. I enjoy the process.”
He researched where to buy the lumber, purchased the tools he needed, began reading about woodworking and met with other woodworkers to master the craft. He and Cain Anne uncovered a “community” of woodworkers, some of whom are local.
“There’s a huge woodworking community on social media,” she says. “There’s a lot of woodworkers in Hoover. It’s a subculture.”
They also realized woodworking requires more tools than they initially thought it would.
After completing their dining room table, Chris made a grill table for a friend. He made other pieces, like desks, bar carts and coffee tables, and posted pictures of the finished products on social media. Then, the requests started pouring in.
“People started asking us to make things to buy,” Cain Anne says.
Chris had the skills, and he had the tools, so he kept building. If people were willing to pay for the pieces, they thought, why not turn it into a side business? With a name, a logo and a website, Beachum Woodworks became an official brand in May.
By day, Chris works for AT&T in network engineering, and Cain Anne is a consultant pharmacist for Senior Care Pharmacy. By night, Chris is ensconced in the couple’s detached garage shop a few paces away from the house, working on commissioned projects and other pieces clients have ordered. Cain Anne is either with him in the shop staining and sealing the pieces, or she’s in the house working on bookkeeping and client inquiries for the business.
Although they typically don’t use much reclaimed wood, Chris and Cain Anne are open to whatever their clients want, from pine to walnut to magnolia to cedar. Pieces in Chris’s portfolio include cutting boards, coffee tables, dog crates, bar carts, benches, grill tables, coat racks, planter stands, dining tables, desks, entry tables, garment racks, bookshelves, wine displays, votive holders, bookcases, fidget spinners and a chuppah – a canopy used in Jewish marriage ceremonies.
As they work on projects, Chris and Cain Anne send their clients progress updates in the form of snapshots to make sure the pieces are meeting their expectations.
“I want them to get exactly what they want. We’re pretty transparent throughout the whole process,” Cain Anne says. “There are no surprises when we show up to your door.”
On average, Chris completes one large project a month and keeps smaller items stocked for when he and Cain Anne sell at local markets, including Park and Crest Market and The Market at Pepper Place. “I like commissions,” he says. “They’re usually bigger projects.”
Cain Anne says she and Chris have learned how to better balance their free time and run a small business outside of their full-time jobs.
“There have been late nights in the shop for sure,” she says. “We have learned how to manage our time. Having the detached shop has been a beautiful thing.”
For Chris, the business sustains what is essentially a hobby for him. “It’s a fun hobby that’s a little more than a hobby. I never thought we’d be doing this.”
And it all started with Cain Anne simply asking for a table.
“It’s worked well,” she says. “We’re very fortunate to be able to fund the business and have it on our property.”