Live Edge

Crafting pieces without the disconnect and with all of the character

“Everything I do is custom from start to finish. There’s nothing that’s ordinary,” says Josh Heyns, owner of Vahalla Custom Creations. “I use the term custom creations because I’m more than a table maker or cabinet guy; I like to live outside the box.”

A visit to two local businesses provides a window into Josh’s creativity and versatility. From the long oak benches, pecan bar tops, drive thru menu, and tables with their custom-made metal legs at Rooted Coffeehouse, to the hand washing station with a custom welded frame, reclaimed poplar wood bar top, and wall art at Augusta Candle Company, each piece is distinct and designed to fit the vision of the client. 

Josh also has residential clients who call on him to bring special, one-of-a-kind touches to their homes. “I want to speak to people’s creative side,” he adds. Clients give him a rough idea of what they want, and he uses their idea to create a vision for the piece. 

Work begins for Josh when the wood is still in its natural state. “I like to salvage the tree myself,” Josh says. “Sometimes I use my wench to drag logs onto the trailer. Then I take them to a friend in Edgefield who has a saw mill. He cuts them, and I let them air dry anywhere from 3 months to 2 years. Then, I can throw them into a kiln to finishing drying them. After that, the wood is ready to start the process of becoming a custom creation.”

 “I seek out more of the exotic wood,” Josh explains.  “I’ve done mantels and used everything from pine to red oak to red cedar. Red cedar is my favorite. It’s very rich in color and has a cool grain with swirls in it. Paired with a textured edge of the white/tan sap wood, it looks very funky.”

“I’ve used pecan for cutting boards, side tables, and a coffee table,” says Josh. “In pecan, the spalted wood can leave really fine lines that are really cool, and combined with the grays, tans, and reds in the wood, it creates a grain with a really funky flow to it.” 

Josh enjoys using a variety of mediums in his projects. “I’m working right now on a metal bed frame with a live edge slab in between the metal for the headboard and the footrest,” he says. “It’s something so unique that many people don’t just have laying around their house.” 

Describing an epoxy river table he created, Josh says, “I cast a slab of deodar cedar in epoxy where the slab is in the middle and it’s surrounded by epoxy.”  The finished product is stunning.

Another unique project included turning an old upright piano into a serving bar for a client. “I started by tearing it down to the bare wood,” says Josh. “I put glass over the keys and put a live edge red oak slab on top to rest drinks. Under the red oak slab, I installed a place to hang wine glasses, and above the keys, there is a shelf to mix drinks on. I mounted the foot pedals on the edge of the top slab to use as towel racks. Beneath, where the foot pedals were, I made a shelf that can double as a wine rack.”

Along with creating pieces so unique they seem alive, supporting those in need is deeply important to Josh. He is currently building a pecan dining room table for a family in Burke County who suffered a great loss. He shares, "Everyone banded together and built a donation house. When I was asked if I’d be interested in donating a table, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help.” Josh has also served the Augusta area as a firefighter for the last 7 years in addition to starting Valhalla Custom Creations 2 ½ years ago.

Want a shot at winning Josh's work for your own home? Evans Lifestyle is partnering with Valhalla Custom Creations to give away a custom table! Visit the Evans Lifestyle Facebook page to enter for your chance to win.

Check out Vahalla Custom Creations on Facebook or Instagram.

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