Wayne Hausknecht has the calm, unassuming manner of one who has so mastered his craft that he has no need to flaunt his skills.
For nearly three decades, Hausknecht has painstakingly created doors and entryways of solid timber that have aptly been called “sculpture on hinges.”
Each piece makes its own statement of elegance, durability and craftsmanship that creates a first impression that quality counts here at the homes where they’re located.
His shop, a restored abode along the narrow Herbert Ave. between 4th and 5th Avenues, is a window to the man. There are no frills. It’s still and cool on a 100 degree-plus day. The milling machines – wide joiner, planer, band saw – all look decades old; solid, reliable standards.
“Perfection is my standard,” he says. “I strive to make each piece as perfect as possible. My customers are not paying for excuses. When I like a piece, when it really works for me, then I know my customer will like it.”
That standard has attracted customers nationwide, although in this recession the commissions that were running nine-to-one outside Tucson last year are for the present all local.
His style is infused with Southwestern and Mexican influences and tends, he says, “to be really clean, more a traditional, timeless look. They should look just as fresh and interesting in 100 years as they do now.” And they are built to stand that test of time.
Hausknecht is entirely self-taught both as woodworker and wood carver. “After ten years of six and even seven day work weeks, ten hours a day, you get the hang of it,” he says of his early years as a woodworker. “The truth is, it’s easy, it’s not a struggle. The lucky people fall into a niche where they find something they like to do and people will pay them to do it.”
Today it’s not unusual for one of his hand-made entryways in mahogany, walnut or mesquite to fetch $20,000.
Hausknecht also works alone, from detailed design to finish on pieces that can take two to three months to complete. “If I had assistants it would be too much like work, plus they’re not as meticulous, they’re working by the clock. My customers are extremely demanding and the way I’ve found to meet those expectations is for me to do the work myself.”
Eyeing the new planks of mahogany just arrived in his shop for his next project, Hausknecht says, “I built it the way I would like it. It’s almost as though I’m building it for me.”
Check out Hausknecht’s website to learn and see more.
Note: I’d like to use this blog from time to time to highlight creative talents in and around Tucson and welcome suggestions for future posts – email@example.com.