‘The WoodGuy’ Builds Dream Works Piece By Piece

George Berry, the man behind The WoodGuy custom furniture company at 751 Gaskill St. SE in Cabbagetown, became mesmerized with working with his hands when he carved handles for a slingshot when he was 15 years old.

YOU’RE ONE OF ATLANTA’S MOST EXPERIENCED WOOD ARTISANS. WHY DID YOU START WORKING WITH WOOD?

After getting out of Vietnam when I was 21 years old and while sitting under an oak tree, I knew I needed to decide what to do with my life. Being an engineer type, I wanted to be a math teacher. But I took Art Design 101 and was the only one to get an A, so I thought, “I can really do this. I can make a go with furniture.”

WHAT DO YOU FIRST SEE WHEN YOU LOOK AT A FRESH PLANK OF WOOD?

Sweat! It’s not like Michelangelo immediately seeing David in a slab of marble. Normally, furniture is created in pieces. I don’t see one plank; I see a whole bunch of boards and other products that I’ll be doing certain things to, and then putting them all together, like a puzzle, a one-of-a-kind project.

WHAT TYPE OF FURNITURE DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN?

It’s modern contemporary furniture with lots of curves. Because I work with individuals, as well as architects and designers, I go through a complete process. Others often call my furniture “art deco” or “handsome.” I don’t do pretty furniture, but I do do handsome! And it’s all hand-built.

“When I create furniture, I live, eat and sleep that piece. I dream about it. It may be a five-week process. Then when I finish with each piece, I suddenly realize I have 3,000 unread emails.”