HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Paul Estler has a college degree in chemistry and engineering, but he chose his hobby of woodworking to become his main occupation. He would eventually open a business that would support his family. That was 35 years ago.
The specialty in “Paul’s Specialties” in Huntington is his unique ability to produce beautiful, handmade wooden pieces like lazy susans, coat racks and carving boards from restored Appalachia hardwood from old homes and barns.
“My philosophy and the way we kind of started out was offering a very good product at their price,” said Estler.
Inside his Quonset hut shop right behind his home is a dust-filled playground for this self-taught master craftsman. He recalled the time when his two girls were five and eight, that they worked at his shop for an allowance. Paul said he just loved having an occupation where he could spend so much time with his family.
Summers turned into mini-vacations as the family would travel to Harper’s Ferry to work arts and crafts fairs.
“As Nancy and I worked the booth, Katie and Christine ran around the fairgrounds, watching the storytellers, eating popcorn, and playing with other crafters’ kids. As they got older, they learned to work the booth and wait on customers, recalled Estler.
His signature stripes of cherry and walnut stand out in his pieces, and over the years he has created quite the following. And if you’re looking for something unique for your home or as a gift, you can find his wares online at his Etsy site, at the Red Caboose in Huntington or on full display at Tamarack culture center in Beckley, West Virginia
He also shows his wares at various art fairs across the tri-state.