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1/26/2014 6:19:12 PM CST

Pleasant Valley Woodworking in Augusta, WI

Late last Spring when we visited the Eau Claire Amish area, we came across an Amish custom woodworker who was able to make solid maple cabinet bases for a wall-to-wall desk for almost $1,000 less than Menards or Home Depot. We had been pricing the cabinets out for awhile and could not justify spending $1,600 on 3 cabinet bases. After speaking with Joe Bontrager, the owner of Pleasant Valley Woodworking, we negotiated a price of $600 total for 3 bases that were to be unfinished because we wanted to stain them ourselves. Because it was his busy season, he needed several months to complete them. That arrangement was fine by us because we were in no rush. We were able to communicate with Joe by telephone because he used a community telephone and voicemail much like most Amish business owners in Wisconsin. 

Below are some photos of inside his shop. His tools and machines are run by a pulley system powered by a diesel engine. The last photo is a photo of the desk bases. All 3 bases are solid 3/4" maple. The two end bases have an adjustable shelf on the inside. We were very pleased with his workmanship and price. 

Amish Woodshop in Augusta, WI

Amish Cabinet Maker in Augusta, WI

Amish Cabinet Maker in Augusta, WI

Amish Woodshop in Augusta, WI

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4/23/2013 4:46:28 PM CST

If you are looking to do some 'Amishing' in the Eau Claire area, don't expect to find your typical cottage industries like other parts of the state.

In this particular region, Eau Claire county, there is an absence of the familiar Amish bakeries, quilt shops, bent & dents, and bulk food stores. During our explorations, we found numerous sawmills and lumber yards. After talking to an Amishman who runs a small furniture making business out of his barn, we learned that sawmills are the most common industry in the area next to farming. With farmland being scarce and costly, these sawmills provide employment for Amish men to support their families.  

Real horsepower is used to haul the wood, not forklifts. 

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