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Woodworker to display his custom-made, handcrafted furniture at Laurel garden center

Luis Orlando Alvarado was 8 years old when he learned to work with wood from his father in Guatemala.

He continues to use what he learned to this day and will begin selling custom-made, handcrafted furniture created from salvaged trees on the North Fork at The Gardens at Beds and Borders in Laurel.

“I like to be creative with the wood because I used to do that with my father when I was younger,” he said in Spanish.

He began creating the furniture as a hobby seven years ago, he said but this is the first year that pieces will be for sale.

The pieces will be on sale and display at The Gardens’ Friday night artisan and vendor series, which start at 6 p.m. The event features local chefs, purveyors, artisans, small businesses and musicians. 

There are currently three tables and two pieces of framed artwork created by Mr. Alvarado on display at The Gardens. 

“I do everything from cutting down the trees to creating and adding the base,” he said in Spanish.

Mr. Alvarado is resourceful when making the furniture. One of the tables on display used the base of an old sewing machine as the legs and another incorporated car parts on the base as well.

He owns the landscaping company Green Gardens Landscape Maintenance and makes the furniture from trees he has cut down at work.

“The majority of the wood comes from trees that have died or are dried out,” he said in Spanish. “I don’t knock down trees that are alive to make the furniture.”

Mr. Alvarado uses wood from some of the oldest trees on the North Fork for his furniture. (Credit: Melissa Azofeifa)

Some of the tables on display are made from the wood of some of the oldest trees on the North Fork, he said.

Mr. Alavardo’s sister-in-law, Luisa Alvarado, manager at The Gardens at Beds and Borders, said she decided to display and sell them there because they are one-of-a-kind pieces.

“Each table has its own story,” Ms. Alvarado said in Spanish.

Mr. Alvarado creates the pieces at a workshop in Mattituck that is full of furniture that he is working on, some of which incorporate unusual materials like bike chains.

He explained that some of these pieces take a long time to create because sometimes the wood is humid and could take years to be dry enough to be used to create anything.

“It’s a process that takes many years; it’s not as easy as buying a bit of wood from Home Depot,” he said in Spanish.

Apart from selling them at The Gardens, Mr. Alvarado will also be taking commission requests for custom-made pieces, with pricing dependent on the work needed to be put into the piece and the thickness of the wood.

Kristen Mullen, a family friend of the Alvarados, will be helping Mr. Alavardo with the sales. She started an Instagram account to showcase the work, @casanativali and anyone interested can contact Ms. Mullen at 631-875-0062.

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