“Buy the best tools you can possibly afford, and don’t copy people“
by CJ THOMAS
photo credit DAVID DILKS
There are many hidden gems to be found in the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, and one those is the nationally recognized carpenter behind Rinne Trimcraft, Nathan Rinne. Nathan comes from a long line of carpenters and is known for building luxuriously unique pieces with special attention to detail and quality. You may already be familiar with Nathan’s work, as his videos have been viewed by thousands on social media. It may be hard to believe that this talented carpenter began his company only four years ago. Nathan sat down to share his inspiring story (and even a few carpentry tips) with Missouri Magazine.
Missouri Magazine: Tell us a little about yourself and your journey.
Nathan: I am 32 years old and have lived at the lake of the Ozarks the last 8 yrs. I have 3 daughters and a son that my wife molly stays home with. It has been an uphill climb. I started out on my own four years ago driving a Honda Civic with a mismatched hood. I had all my tools stacked in it with the seats folded down. It was our only car and we had two kids, so anytime we needed to go somewhere when I got home I had to empty everything out of it in order to put the car seats in. I did that for over a year before I had enough money to buy my wife a minivan.
Missouri Magazine: How did you get started with woodworking?
Nathan: It’s in my blood you could say. Carpentry work goes back in my family for generations and we were part of the craftsman movement that came from Germany in the early 1900s. I grew up around woodworking with my grandpa and my dad, but it wasn’t until my grandpa helped me build my first house that the finishing aspect really grabbed my interest.
Missouri Magazine: Tell us about your process. From the time you’re presented with a project to the final installation. What are your steps for success?
Nathan: Usually, a customer will call me and we will meet for an initial consultation. I will assess the area they are wanting to spruce up as well as the style of their house. Generally speaking, I will give them a rudimentary drawing or general idea of where I think we ought to go as well as a ballpark price at this initial visit. If they accept, I will start the tedious task of figuring for every bit of material needed as well as visualizing how I will complete the job. Normally I will spend the weeks leading up to a job thinking of ways I can make what I’m seeing in my head become a reality.
Missouri Magazine: Where does your inspiration come from whenever you’re tackling a project?
Nathan: From my eyes. I try not to copy anyone and I make it a point not to do the same project twice. A majority of the time I will have a basic build in mind and save the detail work for after I can see it in its space. I pride myself on originality and seek to make each piece unique.
Missouri Magazine: What has been your most challenging project to date?
Nathan: Hmmm…. If I had to pick one it would be the beams and wooden ceilings I did in a home a few years back. There was something like 5 weeks of overhead work that really took a toll on my neck and shoulders. Every project is a challenge though because it’s always my first time doing it. There’s an unwritten rule in carpentry that the first time you build something always takes the longest. By the second time, the learning curve is out of the way and you can get some momentum going. So when each piece is different, you kind of start that learning curve from scratch each time.
Missouri Magazine: What has been your favorite project to date?
Nathan: I’m going to say the murphy desk I recently built. I love multi-functional furniture and the fact that you can leave your desk set up when you fold the bed down really intrigued me. I’m also a big fan of the craftsman style but hadn’t really got to build anything in that vein until then. I always tell people I can only build what I’m paid to build. I’m fully confident I can build anything in any style but I need a client’s request to make it happen. As a bonus, it will be the first project I have featured in Fine Homebuilding magazine which is nothing short of an honor. They are THE definitive magazine for the trades and the fact that I was chosen to represent them is beyond humbling.
Missouri Magazine: What is your favorite part about your job?
Nathan: The end results. Stepping back and taking a look. It’s a sense of job satisfaction as well as pride in the design and final results.
Missouri Magazine: Are there any projects that you haven’t had the opportunity to do yet but would really like to? (I’m a pretty big fan of ‘Tree House Masters’ so I always imagine building a treehouse as being the ultimate project!)
Nathan: Lots! I have designs that I am waiting for the opportunity to use. I am constantly thinking up possible projects and how I would execute them. If I don’t get the chance to build them for other people, once I get my shop I will build them for myself.
Missouri Magazine: If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
Nathan: Skip music school, start buying tools instead. Oh and have confidence. It’s the key to success.
Missouri Magazine: Do you have any suggestions for aspiring woodworkers just getting started?
Nathan: Buy the best tools you can possibly afford, and don’t copy people. Use your eyes as they are the most important tool you own. Wear a dust mask as the air borne particles will eventually get to you. Trust me.
If you’d like to see more of Nathan’s work follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and check out his official website! www.rinnetrimcraft.com