By Pamela Dozois

Contributing Writer

Valley native Shaun Boyd had a plan for his life: go to school, get a degree, then get a job and earn some money. He graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in economics and found himself a position in San Francisco.

“I had spent all this time completing my studies and ended up working for a company doing data entry. I looked at my future and knew it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life,” he said. “I was wasting my time.”

Having always had a creative side and an interest in film, he decided to move to Texas and attend film school. At this point he was contemplating getting a master’s degree or a second bachelor’s degree, but after his first year his teachers advised him to just start working.

“At 25 I felt like the old guy on the block, going to classes with young kids,” Boyd said. “So I took my teachers’ advice and found a job with the Sundance Film Festival. I liked film and at first the job was interesting, but ultimately I found myself spending more and more time in front of a computer and less time being creative.

“I felt like I was just chasing a job and money. I wanted to pursue something that was more creative. My ultimate goal was to turn a hobby of mine, woodworking, into a passion and then turn my passion into a career.  I wanted a career that I was passionate about, and I knew I would have to create one for myself.”

With a bold plan in mind, he returned to the valley and opened a small workshop, “Shaun Boyd Made This,” designing and making furniture. He says he started with a drill and a circular saw and no other tools.

Pictured is an assortment of the cutting boards Shaun Boyd teaches students to make in his monthly woodshop classes.

“Woodworking had always been a hobby of mine. My grandfather was into fine woodworking, and my father was one of those people who was always handy around the house, fixing things and taking on renovation projects himself. I learned a lot from them,” he said. “I have all of my grandfather’s woodworking tools now, and I use most of them.”

“It was hard getting customers at first, but then word got around,” he continued. “I began making wine-barrel furniture and I sold a lot of them, but I wanted to make furniture that I liked, that I designed myself. Since I started designing and making furniture, working with wood and my hands in a creative way, it’s the first time I have been able to take my focus off money.”

Boyd designs and makes furniture but does custom work as well. In an effort to be environmentally responsible, he uses mostly domestic wood such as walnut, maple, oak and occasionally alder. He recently finished working for the new owners of the building that used to be Bell Street Farms in Los Alamos, making tables and helping install a new bar and seating. He has also made several guitars that don’t adhere to the standard guitar rules, which he has displayed on his office wall.

“I would call my furniture mid-century modern, but I try to stay away from labeling my designs. I have a creative mind and I enjoy looking at all styles of furniture with an eye for form, shape and texture,” he said. “I may get an idea for the design of a new piece of furniture, then I work at creating it.”

In an effort to expand his business and become more visible, Boyd decided to make YouTube videos.

“I started making YouTube videos on furniture making. It’s mostly documenting my process and people seem to be into it. I got a lot of new business from the videos,” he said.

Boyd also enjoys interacting with others who love woodworking.

“When you’re passionate about something it’s really great to get together with others who are passionate about woodworking as well,” he said.

Boyd holds workshops once a month to help people learn woodworking. He teaches his students how to make cutting boards, which they can take home and display or use themselves.

“Making a cutting board is a great project to start with because it’s simple and small, but all the woodworking techniques you use in making a cutting board can translate into making a piece of furniture,” said Boyd. “It’s a great introduction to woodworking. The best part is the look of pride on the faces of the people when they see their finished cutting board, all polished and beautiful. People don’t often get the experience of seeing something they have actually made with their own hands.

“Woodshops are dying across the country. Classes in woodshop were one of the first to be dropped from the high school curriculum 25 or more years ago, so these workshops are my little attempt to help keep the craft alive,” said Boyd. “Even if a student doesn’t become a woodworker, having had some hands-on experience with wood can only be a positive experience.”

As for the name of his business, “Shaun Boyd Made This,” he explained that back when he finished his first furniture job, the client really wanted him to put his logo or business name on the bar stools he had just made for them. The only problem was that he didn’t have a logo or business name at the time, so he just wrote “Shaun Boyd made this bar stool” on each one. He has continued to sign all his furniture in the same manner.

“I don’t think about money as much anymore. Being creative is the most important thing to me. Doing what I love rewards me emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually and the money follows naturally,” he said. “I’m finally doing what I love and love what I am doing – creating.”

Dates of his workshops are listed on his website, He can also be reached by email at