Vail Valley Bizwatch: Shamrock Fine Woodworking |

Vail Valley Bizwatch: Shamrock Fine Woodworking

Daily Staff ReportNewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyShamrock Fine Woodworking owner Tim O'Brien created this "grandmother clock" - a reproduction of a clock first made in 1760 - a few years ago.

Business name: Shamrock Fine Woodworking.Location: 245 Marmot Lane #3, Eagle.Date opened: October of 1992.Owner: Tim O’Brien.Contact info: Call 970-328-7253. On line, go to goods or services do you provide? Since opening day Shamrock Fine Woodworking has been producing heirloom quality, one-of-a-kind furniture, cabinetry, entertainment centers, mantles, doors, cabinets, accessories and an occasional totem pole. From traditional to contemporary, your design or mine, all woods, all finishes.What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? I strive to keep my work as close to the level of art as possible, and I advertise rather agressively. I am the only custom woodworker I know who has had a TV commercial. I also have ads in Vail Valley Magazine and Mountain House & Home, as well as a Web page that shows my work. That’s a lot of advertising, but I have always believed that word of mouth only goes so far, even after being here for 29 years. I think if your work is exceptional – and mine is – you owe it to yourself to let as many people as possible know about it.What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? My approach is to tet the client involved right from the start – the design process. That ensures that it becomes personal to them. They may have no idea where to begin, but after a bit of friendly conversation and a few quick sketches by me, I can usually glean enough information to put together a detailed drawing and, quite often, a 3-D sample. Producing scaled drawings and samples helps create a clear idea for the client, and also allows me to mentally work through the fabrication of the piece from the ground up.Everything at Shamrock Fine Woodworking is built from rough lumber to finished product.The most lasting lesson I learned as an apprentice is that it is imperative to begin with the end in mind.Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: During my last two years of high school I excelled at wood shop and I also went to trade school as part of the curriculum. While there I studied home construction, cabinet making, drafting and interior design. During that time the class, with the help an an instructor, built five houses from the foundation up doing all the carpenter work.After graduation I passed the builder’s test required in Michigan and became a licensed residential builder until moving to Colorado in 1981. I was in Denver briefly and moved to Avon when hired by Aren Design (which was then in Eagle-Vail) as an apprentice. That apprenticeship lasted 10 years in two locations. Next was two years at another shop, polishing my skills and building nothing but high end custom furniture. As is usually the case, the apprentice became a master and it was time to strike out on my own. I never looked back!What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? This was more ironic at the time, but now I see the humor in it:I have always prided myself on safety in the shop, and in more than 27 years I’d never had more than a few serious splinters. That changed April 3, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. when I lost the top third of my right index finger. I was wearing gloves, which I rarely do, and the glove tip got caught in a machine and pulled my finger in.I got patched up at the local clinic and still made it to happy hour, which got a lot of laughs!

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