ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
River Mill Woods is a new custom furniture and framing business on Marion’s Main Street, but owners Daryl and Pat Enos are not new faces to the neighborhood.
Daryl, son of Phyllis and Eugene Enos, recalls purchasing his first woodworking tool when he was a freshman in Marion High School.
“The Black & Decker quarter-inch drill went on sale for $9.99,” Daryl said. “I asked my mom if I could buy it, and she said, ‘Sure, it’s your money.'”
He took the tool home and began working on his first wood project. Nearly 30 years later-in a new workplace in the former Ehrlich Flour Mill and with many more tools-Enos is still working on wood projects.
One example is a Morris chair made of quarter-sawed pine. The large easy chair has an adjustable back and will have thick removable cushions.
Not only is the chair comfortable, Enos said, it will last for generations because of the way it is made.
Wood that has been quarter-sawed from the log not only brings out feathering patterns within the wood grain, he said, it also increases the strength and stability of the furniture piece.
On the lower front of the chair Enos pointed to an example of mortise tenon, a way of putting framework together by creating a slot or hole through which a connecting piece of the framework will fit.
“It is possible to have a square hole,” Enos said.
Of course, the additional beauty, quality and strength comes with a price tag. Enos said quarter-sawed pine is more expensive than other cuts of wood, but he feels the durability of the product makes it a good investment.
In another corner of the shop stands a pie safe Enos designed from a cabinet that had been discarded as junk furniture.
The piece, also in quarter-sawed pine, has three shelves-two of which are adjustable-that are made of numerous spaced slats.
“I am not sure this is exactly how it should have been,” Enos said, “but with the space, air can circulate to cool the pies.”
When finished, the pie safe will have a glass front.
Other types of chairs, tables and cabinets are situated around the shop and Enos said he hopes to expand the selection and create a product brochure.
With 231/2 years of teaching experience, Enos wants to offer woodworking classes for adults in the near future.
“I did this while living in Lewis,” he said. “They enjoyed it a lot and were able to take their time and make something they were proud of.”
Now that Daryl Enos has newer tools, that first drill has been handed over to Pat, daughter of Charles and Jo Kjellin, for her work in framing.
Pat had been a stay-at-home mom when her two children were younger. She said since Daryl had all the right equipment for making frames, she decided to do the matting to help the family earn a few extra dollars.
“I didn’t get serious about this until 1993,” she said. “Then on June 1 (2001), we opened here. This is the first shop we have had.”
In the little shop hang examples of Pat’s framing work, with pictures, school memorabilia, and memory shadow boxes as well as a chair made by Daryl.
Pat said framing has gone through many changes in the last several years, including ways of protecting framed items.
“Now there are acid-free mats and conservation glass which block about 97 percent of the UV rays, which can damage artwork or historical items,” she said.
Framing also has become more expensive, but a customer doesn’t have to choose the more costly options.
“We can make it look really nice and not be so expensive, too,” she said.
Besides frames for pictures, Pat enjoys creating shadow boxes. In one of her creations, she has a dress belonging to her grandmother as a little girl, with a locket hanging around the neck of the dress. In the corner of the box is a picture of her grandmother as a child wearing the necklace and dress.
“The shadow boxes are fun to put together and people really enjoy them,” she said.
Another service Enos offers is careful record keeping.
“A number of times people have come back and asked me to frame a picture of grandma like I had done for grandpa years earlier,” she said. “I keep very careful records so I can closely match what I had done for them years before.”
Besides doing work for local customers, Enos has also shipped her work across the country, even as far as Alaska.
In the future, Enos wants to have catalogs available for customers to order prints from. She already has catalogs featuring animals, children and nature scenes.
“We don’t have the room to offer the prints I would like to,” she said. “But some of these are beautiful.”
The business is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. Off-hour appointments can be arranged by calling 620-382-2891 or 620-382-8495.