DO WHAT YOU LOVE: NEWTON BOOTH BUILDS
You may have seen one of Newton Booth Builds’ California beer-opener at a friend’s house, being sold out at an event or at DISPLAY: California. No doubt, it has been a conversation starter whenever you have seen it.
NBB is a relatively new company, operating out of a workshop in the Newton Booth neighborhood of Midtown Sacramento.
“I just thought it was a cool name that geographically locates me. He (Newton Booth) was a governor of California in the late 1800’s”, explains NBB founder Nils Reid.
“It’s me basically, and my close friend David (Goreau). A carpenter and really good builder. We lived in Brooklyn together. I moved out here because my wife got a job in Sacramento with the state. I’m from Vermont, but had been living in Brooklyn.”
Having worked in restaurants for so long, Reid was growing tired of the grind. Moving to Sacramento, he quickly found work in the same industry, but just wasn’t finding that satisfaction he finds in building.
“I was a chef in New York. I’d worked in food service for most of my life. I did wood working as a hobby. I loved the job but the hours were killing me. You reach this space where you’re gonna become a lifer; where you’re either going to open a restaurant and live that life, or you’re not. I wasn’t in love with it like I am building stuff. In all my free-time, I was just in my garage building stuff.”
If You Build It…..
“There’s so much much good wood out there in Northern California. Every week I’m at the lumber yard you know, once or twice. So much useable wood just ends up in landfills.”
NBB was born out of a desire for Reid to work with his hands, and utilize available local resources.
“I went to school for photography, and I’ve never considered myself an artist. I love the look of natural wood. I think there was an era of the 70’s and 80’s where they moved away from that, and there was a lot of veneer and fake woods, and there was an era where things were built by craftsman, and carefully. I think it’s kinda cliche, but there’s so much beauty that came out of that era; the amount of care, and design that went into it. I think (it was) from the 1880’s through like the fifties. I like the features of a piece of wood. Finding a gorgeous piece of wood and featuring that.”
Newton Booth Builds has established a presence here in Sacramento, as a staple at local markets. They also like to focus on custom projects that are site specific.
In a time when clean design is accessible at big-box retailers, it often doesn’t include durability.
“My joke is “My table will outlive you”, and that’s how it should be, you know, your table should outlive you. I think that’s something people forget is that old-growth lumber isn’t like the lumber of today.”
Three Ways Hobbyists Can Source local Wood:
Word of Mouth
Ask around if people know of any old houses being torn down. Making contact with a homeowner doing repairs on a house could allow you to glean some great wood that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Think of how often you see an old-Victorian being worked around town.
Green Waste Yards
“There’s some green waste yards that I go to. There’s one near Thunder Valley that you can pick through. It’s kinda like “you get what you can get”.
Go to the Lumber Yard/Mill, not the Retailer
“Go as close to the source as you can get”, Reid notes. “Talk to local arborists, find out where the trees go that are cut down.”
Give @NewtonBoothBuilds a follow and check out some of their individually-crafted pieces, from cutting boards to lamps. You can find him and his products at DISPLAY:California, Midtown Farmer’s Market and at GATHER: Oak Park.