Tom Hewitt  |  Wood

Woodworker Tom Hewitt's admiration for trees led Tom and his wife, Tricia, to design their Payson home so that they cut none down. The decision led to the house’s unique, 26-cornered design.    And there is veritable forest surrounding his house, both alive and dead. Hewitt collects wood like he collects stamps, and his years of avid gathering have resulted in logs, pieces and piles of timber surrounding his house in a wood artist’s version of a candy store.

Out back sits Hewitt’s shop — Tom’s Wooden Wonders. “This is a workshop to die for,” he said. “Whenever I bring people here that work with wood, they don’t want to leave; they want to move in.”    Hewitt makes vases, Lazy Susans and wine holders, among other things, with various types of wood, some more exotic than others. Hewitt’s most popular product is the tissue box covers he makes. He says he has made roughly 400. However, a snazzy new wine bottle holder that defies gravity could upset the tissue box’s No. 1 position. The wooden holder is slanted in such a way that the wine bottle looks as if it’s tottering precariously.

The majority of his wood comes from old furniture or a particular cabinet-making shop he frequently raids for scraps. Other pieces come from dead trees in his back yard. One vase is made of purpleheart wood from Africa, but Hewitt also uses tiger maple, mesquite and spalted oak. Hewitt has a wood saw that he’s carted around with him for 30 years. He bought it in St. Louis in 1978, before he moved to Los Angeles, accompanied by the saw, and before he lived in Scottsdale or Payson, where the saw also found space in each respective home. Hewitt has owned some pieces of wood longer than he has owned the saw. “But I’m trying to use it up,” he said.