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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Jon Bassett, Sophisticated Pallet

May 28, 2015 02:42PM ● By Brandi Barnett

Store Front

June 2015
Photos: Christy Canafax

ENJOY: How did you become interested in handcrafted woodwork?
JON: My interest in woodworking was sparked when I found myself at home one day, bored out of my mind and wanting something creative to do. I’ve always been drawn to working with my hands. There was an old, run-down bench on my parents’ property that had been there long before they bought the place in 2000. It had seen countless sun-scorched days, sat through hundreds of downpours and was riddled with termite rot. It was beautiful. I knew next to nothing about woodworking; all I knew was that there was a story under all the ugliness. I bought my first power tool, a sander I still use today. I dismantled the bench and spent the next two days determined to find the gem beneath all the grime. From that point, I worked on creating pieces of my own and made use of the wood around me, primarily pallets.  It was incredible to see how beautiful a pallet’s wood was. I joked I had made the pallet look sophisticated, thus the birth of Sophisticated Pallet. But without a doubt, it all started with the bench; it lit the fire and it’s been all uphill from there.

ENJOY: What types of things do you create?
JON: I’m a sponge for creative ideas. I want to build anything and everything that looks interesting. I’ve made all kinds of tables, home decor, outdoor furniture, gift-oriented pieces like my caddies and bottle openers, and anything my wife decides to add to the “honey do” list. I want to make it all. I don’t want to limit myself to only one type of project, but right now my most popular would definitely be my beer and wine caddies.

ENJOY: Who is your typical customer?
JON: I think my typical customer is the person looking to give a gift. For custom orders, I’ve made things for all types of people, from people looking for furniture for their home, decor for their walls or something special for their outdoor space.

ENJOY: Do you offer custom ordering?
JON: Absolutely. Fifty percent of my business is from custom orders. My ideal customer is someone who lets me have free creative reign over the project; not to say I won’t build exactly what someone is looking for, I just love being creative. I think that is what is most appealing about purchasing something that is handmade – there is always the uniqueness of the piece, be it in the varying wood grains, the mixed contrast of boards that have been cleaned to look new and those that still carry the natural patina of age, or the attention to detail most all makers give to their work.

ENJOY: What do you enjoy most about your business?
JON: It all goes back to that run-down bench, seeing beyond the neglect and discarded pieces of wood to how beautiful they really are, when anyone else would throw them away. I love coming home covered in sawdust from a long day of sanding. I love the hum of the shop immediately after I finish my last cut. And I love losing myself in a build. To me, it’s all poetry for the eyes, and I’m addicted.

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