The borough of Brooklyn breeds no shortage of artisans whose focus…some may call it obsession…is based on the art of craftsmanship, quality and sustainability. No matter the reasons for this renewed interest in artisan culture, it’s fostering a new appreciation for hand-worked home wares.
Enter Nils Wessel, an unassuming guy with the intensity of a rocket scientist. He is the artist and craftsman behind Brooklyn Butcher Blocks, a one-man operation housed in a small wood shop/artist studio in an industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn called Gowanus.
Wessel specializes in beautifully crafted and handmade butcher blocks and is dedicated to using strictly American-made products. The cherry and walnut woods he uses are grown in western Pennsylvania, the food safe glue is made in Ohio, the mineral oil is from Texas, and the beeswax comes from beekeepers in
Missouri and New York. The lumber arrives rough, and Wessel himself cuts and shapes each board by hand, meticulously positioning pieces of wood, creating beautiful yet unpretentious patterns and designs. The resulting wood chips and saw dust are collected and taken to Compost For Brooklyn, a local non-profit urban garden and learning center near his shop.
The result is an amazingly beautiful and handcrafted butcher block that will last a lifetime and just keeps getting better with age. Thanks to folks like Nils Wessel, they do indeed still make them like they used to…and I’d argue perhaps better.
x Stephen Zeigler
Photos by Stephen Zeigler