By Abby Bell
Craftmanship runs in Nick DePlonty’s blood. As the third-generation DePlonty with a talent for skilled trades, Nick uses expertise learned from his grandfather and father to handcraft carpentry goods for his Sault Ste. Marie based carpentry business, Castle of Wood.
“My grandpa had a workshop right next door while I was growing up, and I was always out there with him,” DePlonty states. “It was only a matter of time before I picked it [woodworking] up too.”
Nick also learned from his father, Dave DePlonty, who serves as Cloverland’s hydro plant machinist, custom crafting many specialized parts used in the cooperative’s hydroelectric plant. DePlonty also credits courses in carpentry and woodworking at Sault Area Middle and High Schools with enhancing his skill set.
“I call it functional art,” DePlonty explains. “I love taking a piece of unfinished wood and turning it into something beautiful that serves a purpose.”
Working full-time for the Sault Tribe as a specialty court liaison, Nick spends his nights and weekends crafting walnut, oak, maple, African padauk and purple heart into cutting boards, butcher blocks and coasters with an Upper Peninsula-themed inlay. DePlonty sells products at local craft shows and on social media.
DePlonty has completed intricately crafted custom jobs, including cash wraps for sister businesses, Prim Apparel and Proper Aesthetics. He also created a 20-foot red oak inlaid conference table for the Corps of Engineers project office in Sault Ste. Marie. DePlonty is working on a custom order of five signs for the land grant acknowledgment between Sault Area Schools and the Sault Tribe.
While he enjoys custom orders for the skillset challenge, DePlonty hopes to grow production of smaller items such as his inlaid cutting boards, oven covers and butcher blocks. With about seven steps going into each product – including cutting, prepping, sizing, gluing, inlay work, sanding and finishing – it’s more cost-effective for his business to have products readily available that most households use daily.
DePlonty has dreams for the future of Castle of Wood, including expanding his carpentry goods into local shops and someday creating a co-working woodshop open to the public.
“I want to encourage people to learn the skill,” DePlonty explains. “There’s something I cherish about creating something out of nothing.”
For more information, follow Castle of Wood on Facebook.