Q & A with Sandtown Millworks General Manager James Battaglia

| April 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

With the thriving construction and real estate market in South Baltimore, Riverside-based Sandtown Millworks is finding new uses for old scrapped building materials. This year Sandtown Millworks is projecting to make more than 300 pieces of custom furniture in its Belt St. shop. SouthBMore.com caught up with General Manager James Battaglia to find out more about this unique local company.

Tell us about the name Sandtown Millworks and how the company started.

Sandtown Millworks started with a simple concept that beautiful quality furniture could be hand made locally out of materials that would otherwise be thrown in a landfill. Will Phillips was involved with Habitat for Humanity in the Sandtown neighborhood and was able to salvage a large amount of wood from the home renovations. He got together with John Bolster, a trained architect and contractor who has been renovating homes in Baltimore with an emphasis on reclaiming and reusing materials for years. Together they came up with the idea for Sandtown Millworks, and the original (Sandtown) line of furniture was born.

What kind of products does Sandtown Millworks make? Where do you get most of your materials?

We make dining tables, benches, coffee tables, storage pieces, consoles, beds, barn doors, and many other timeless pieces by hand right here in South Baltimore. Our work is primarily made from wood, which we salvage from old buildings around Baltimore being renovated or demolished.  Most of the buildings from which we get our material were built between 1880 and 1920 In addition to wood, we also utilize other salvaged materials like tin ceiling panels as well as new steel elements in our work.

10407846_898807020158843_573441374591584494_nTell us about the day-to-day operations of the company.

No two days are the same for us, though at any given time, we usually have five guys in the shop building furniture. The building process is a team effort. It includes de-nailing the wood, milling to size and flatness, careful cuts and assembly, a tremendous amount of sanding, and expert finishing. In addition to that, we are out meeting with clients, salvaging wood, making deliveries, and collaborating with designers.

Where can people check out some of Sandtown Millworks’ pieces? How can someone get a custom-made piece?

A good starting point is our website (www.sandtownmillworks.com), which has pictures, prices, dimensions, and descriptions of our main lines and pieces. We also have a fantastic showroom located in the Silo Point Condos, which is available to visit by appointment. We have also just finished building an additional showroom attached to our shop, which gives potential customers a fantastic feel for what we are all about, also available by appointment. You can call or email me at jamesb@sandtownmillworks.com or (410) 929-5816 to set up a visit.

Tell us about the benefits of social media and having an effective website for your company.

We use both Facebook and Instagram as ways to stay in touch with our customers, and give them a glimpse into what we have going on. Both are great outlets for us to post some of the interesting custom pieces we are working on and behind-the-scenes shots of day-to-day life at the shop.

What are the expansion goals for Sandtown Millworks?

We plan to continue expanding in the Baltimore area and also branching out more into the DC and Philadelphia markets.

What do you like about running a company in South Baltimore?

It is great to be located in such a vibrant, thriving and supportive community. With all of the renovations going on, there is no shortage of materials for us locally, which is a nice perk as well.

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About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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