by Grady Mitchell | “Wood has spirit in it,” says Sam Clemens, one half of the duo behind Hobo Woodworks. Along with his brother and business partner, Lenny, Sam imbues the old spirit of reclaimed wood a new life through the finely crafted goods they build in their East Vancouver workshop.
The Hobo philosophy was largely influenced by their parents, who came up to Canada in the 60s from Southern California as part of the DIY hippy movement of that era. His mother worked as a cocktail waitress until they could afford their first hide, at which point they began their leather working business. Growing up in the Slocan Valley, the boys played with saws and hammers, and learned to live by the work of their own hands.
Before launching Hobo in 2012, Sam and Lenny built sprawling mansions for West Van millionaires. Disenchanted with that work, the brothers started their own venture, something more aligned to the values instilled in them as lifelong west coasters.
Now they use only local, responsibly and sustainably sourced materials. As a result, every Hobo piece is a beautiful hybrid of new and reclaimed wood. As word got out, people have started bringing them leftover wood (one guy even bringing a load of well-loved timber during our visit). It’s natural for people to stop by. When the workshop’s garage door slides up it becomes a storefront. The Hobo boys hope to make their workshop a community hub where friends and passersby can drop in to chat anytime, and see their process firsthand. They can also, if they ask nicely, ride the back room mini-ramp or hone their archery skills.
To learn more about Hobo Woodworks, check out their site.