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The Rustic Artistry
of Welbywood

story by Cody Moore , Photography by Cody Moore and Audrey Poff

Since discovering his passion for woodworking several years ago, Jonesboro native Welby Young has made a name for himself within the local art community. Young’s woodworking business, Welbywood, offers an array of handcrafted dining tables, end tables, charcuterie boards, cutting boards and more.

Young, who worked as a financial consultant prior to beginning his woodworking career, recalls the first time he dabbled in the craft of woodworking more than 10 years ago.

“I began doing woodwork in 2007 when my family started renovating buildings in Downtown Jonesboro,” said Young. “I was a financial consultant during the day, and I worked on buildings downtown at night.”

For several years after discovering his love of woodworking, Young would create custom wood bars and tables for local businesses as a side gig. In 2010, local artist Sean Shrum noticed one of Young’s handcrafted counters in The Daily Grind, a former Downtown Jonesboro coffee shop, and immediately saw his artistic potential.

“In 2010, Sean Shrum noticed the counter in the coffee shop on Main Street,” said Young. “He contacted me and asked me to put some of my pieces in an art show he had coming up. I remember hiding in the alley for the first hour of the show, terrified that my work wouldn’t be accepted. I laugh now because Sean was the one who got me out of the alley.”

Fast forward to 2012, when Young would go on to book one of his most extensive woodwork projects to date: Stan Jones Mallard Lodge in Alicia.

“In 2012, Stan Jones gave me the opportunity to do the work on his new lodge,” said Young. “Stan flew me to California to handpick the very best materials for the job. It was some of the most challenging work I’ve done, but I loved it and knew that this was what I wanted to do.

“Stan Jones Lodge will always be a special project to me. I have shipped pieces as far as San Francisco just from people coming to enjoy the lodge and seeing my woodwork.”

A few years after that project, Young decided to take a leap of faith and pursue woodworking full time. Young officially established his business, Welbywood, in 2015, and the rest is history.

Since its start, Welbywood has provided several pieces, such as handcrafted counters and bars, to its commercial clients in collaboration with Rogers Custom Millwork, a Jonesboro shop that installs custom cabinetry and carpentry of the highest quality. Local clients include Skinny J’s, Yesdog Grill, Upper Crust Pizza and Cregeen’s Irish Pub.

“I love all the restaurants I’ve worked on in town, especially the ones on Main Street,” said Young. “I remember the way Downtown Jonesboro was before investors like my brother, Clay Young, Ted Herget, Dan Johnson and Chris Baugh started renovating properties. Through their hard work and sacrifice began a movement that cannot be measured, because it’s still in motion to this day.”

Other than commercial client woodwork, Welbywood also offers an array of residential pieces, including handcrafted dining room tables, coffee tables and end tables. Among Young’s most popular creations, though, are his redwood mantles, cutting boards and charcuterie boards, all of which are available in several different sizes and styles.

“My favorite pieces that I do are the ones that exceed my clients’ expectations,” said Young. “I recently delivered a dining room table for a client’s new cabin. When the couple first saw the completed table, they decided to move the Welbywood table into their home and the old dining table would go to the cabin. To be invited into someone’s home is always such an honor to me.

“I also enjoy creating my charcuterie boards and cutting boards, especially during the holidays. I work nonstop the month of December, even delivering up until the night of Christmas Eve just so everyone can get something special.”

Each day, Young spends hours of his time carving out and shaving down different types of woods that are then used to create each of his signature pieces. Common types of woods used by Young include redwood and walnut.

“I first started buying wood in California since it was the only area I could find wood sawed in thick slabs with the live edge attached,” said Young. “I rented a car in San Fransisco and drove north towards Oregon, stopping at different sawmills along the way. I shipped all the wood that I found back to Jonesboro on FedEx trucks. I did that up until three or four years ago.

“Now, we have several local sawmills near Jonesboro, and I like using the variety of hardwoods Arkansas offers.”

Whether he’s hand-selecting the perfect woods for an upcoming project or measuring a space for a client, no matter how busy his schedule is, Young always makes time for what matters the most to him.

“Every day is different; that’s what I love about what I do,” said Young. “I could be at a sawmill looking for the perfect kitchen table, at a lake house working on countertops or in a conference room measuring for a new table.

“Regardless of my schedule, I always find time for my son, Cache. He plays soccer year-round, and my schedule has always allowed me to coach his teams or travel with the boys. I have always said being a dad is the best job I have ever had.”

Though all Welbywood pieces can be purchased directly from Young by reaching out to him via Facebook, Welbywood is now offering one of its most popular items at a local retailer.

“Zach Jones is offering my charcuterie boards at his store, Bearded Bouquet,” said Young. “I’m happy that the public now has a retail location in town to directly purchase my boards.”

When it comes to the new year, Welbywood also has plans to introduce new and exciting things for clients to purchase and enjoy.
“I hope to introduce a more modern line of furniture in the new year,” said Young. “This is actually my preferred style. I love mixing the clean lines of manufactured products with organic elements, such as wood.

“I also have had success with a new line of cutting boards that I designed with Chandler Rogers. They are extremely well made. When you hold one, it feels like it will last you 50 years, and it will.”

Throughout the years, though Young and his woodworking business have evolve d, his immense gratitude towards the Jonesboro community has remained the same.

“I would say that the greatest factor of my success would be due to the constant support that the Jonesboro community has given me,” said Young. “Jonesboro is a great place to live with some of the best people.”

“Who knows what the future holds for Welbywood? … I take things one day at a time and am grateful for every day I get to spend doing what I love.”

For more information on Welbywood, to purchase a piece or to view Young’s latest woodwork creations, find Welby Young on Facebook or @welby.young on Instagram.