Woodworker featured at River Artisans Cooperative

SAXTONS RIVER — The work of Don Smead and Smead Woodcraft will be featured for the month of November at the River Artisans Cooperative in Saxtons River.

Founded by Hugh Smead in 1954, Smead Woodcraft is nationally known for its items made from Vermont hardwoods.

Founder Hugh Smead, was stricken late in life with polio and became paralyzed from the waist down. He was unable to keep his job at Putney's Basketville, but he hadn't lost his talents at woodworking. A local church fundraiser helped the family build a specially-designed workshop behind their home on Putney Road.

Working at tables low enough to accommodate his wheelchair, he began producing a small line of cutting boards and other kitchen implements. His wife, Laura, functioned as traveling saleswoman and after a few years their unique family business began to take off.

Today, Hugh's son, Don Smead, runs the business and other family members pitch in. Although the shop is fully mechanized, all the work is done by hand and an individual family member oversees each process.

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