WASILLAm— The Alaska Wood Shop owner Mike Blodgett can usually be found in his shop working from one unique project to the next.
“If it’s made out of wood I build it,” Blodgett said.
Blodgett said that he mostly works on furniture and cabinets, but he’s worked on just about every kind of project involving wood. He’s currently working on five different projects ranging from custom cabinetry work to designing a captain’s bed.
“I’ve got ADHD and I tend to bounce a lot,” Blodgett said. “I don’t have a chance to get bored… I like to move around const and keep my mind busy.”
According to Blodgett, the local trends tend to fluctuate and popular types of requests vary year to year. He noted that people tend to buy beds during the winter months, and he usually handles a lot of cabinet projects this time of year.
“Last summer, the big thing was desks,” Blodgett said. “I get a pretty good mixture but it comes in spurts. It ebbs and flows a lot.”
Blodgett said that he built his first piece of furniture 50 years ago. His father had a wood shop and started teaching him the craft when he was 5 years old.
“I was always the slave of the wood shop… Actually, when I hit about 18, I hated it. I always got the grunt work. I was also an auto mechanic… I got tired of the grease of working on cars. I was sick of the sawdust. So, I went to the military and became a cop,” Blodgett said. “To this day I still hate sanding... I got a big machine over there that does the sanding.”
Blodgett spent over a decade serving in the U.S. Air Force and returned to the Valley in 1992. He said that he was just starting to dabble with woodwork again when his house burnt down. After the incident, he started was rebuilding his life with his wife, Sue.
He started by building cabinets for their kitchen, moving onto other projects, eventually accumulating a large number of tools. He said that his wife told him that he should start thinking about paying off his tools with his woodworking skills, so he started building his own business. He hasn’t looked back since.
“I set my own hours, make my own rules. I like this much better… People tell me I’m good at it snd I don’t have to work for somebody else… There’s a lot of things I know how to do but this ended up being the one I fell into,” Blodgett said.
Blodgett said that he started taking small projects here and there, shifting to a full-time shop with an accompanying website about five years ago. He credited much of his success to Sue for helping him stay organized and flourish through her financial fortitude and her bolstering business savvy.
“She made this all happen. Without her support, I never would have gotten where I’m at. It’s definitely a partnership effort,” Blodgett said.
Blodgett also thanked his marketing crew for helping him build his presence in the community with a streamlined website.
“A lot of people find me through my website,” Blodgett said.
The Alaska Wood Shop website is filled with images of Blodgett’s work. The website is what drew Big Lake snowbird couple Al and Celeste Bolea to his services.
“Whoever made the website, it’s working,” Al said.
The Big Lake couple is currently ordering custom cabinetry for their summer cabin. Al said that he’s confident in Blodgett’s abilities by looking around his sawdust strewn shop.
“This guy’s the reals deal. He knows wood. His shop looks like someone who really knows how to put things together. If I would’ve walked in here and saw a manicured shop, I would’ve gotten nervous. It looks just like a cabinet shop should look like,” Al said with a laugh.
Blodgett said that he makes a point to talk over the details of a given project with each customer to ensure the optimal approach and what everything will entail before diving in.
“I try to be as crystal clear as I can. Anything I make can be adjusted,” Blodgett said. We do everything here, right onsite… It’s not just cut a piece of wood and put it together… Most people are pretty happy with what I make for ‘em.”
The Alaska Wood Shop is located at 3451 North Bear Street off Bogard Road. For more information, call 907-373-5866 or visit thealaskawoodshop.com.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org