A LABOR OF LOVEPartnership behind Custom Iron and Wood is forged in fire
By Rene Day
A Day in the Life Antiques, Vintage and Design
When you first walk into Custom Iron and Wood in Harpersville, you realize that there is beauty within. Throughout the workshop, examples of Stoney Johnson and Kim Revis’ art reveal that, while form follows function, the form can be pretty amazing. His medium is metal – heated, beaten and shaped with the help of his blacksmithing expertise. She works in wood – all types of salvaged wood, naturally dried, and finished to an exceptional shine. Their personal partnership has blossomed into a professional one that results in one-of-a-kind furniture and accent pieces for the home.
Stoney is about as native to Shelby County as one can get. His family has been in the area for generations. His interest in learning metalworking skills dates back to the days he spent with his blacksmith grandfather at the original forge in Wilsonville. Later, working in his dad’s sod farm and landscaping business introduced him to welding and Stoney graduated from high school certified through the program at the School of Technology. Johnson then opened a small welding shop in his hometown and has been fabricating metal for over 30 years. Though he makes his living with the welding, it is the blacksmithing that makes his life. Stoney originally constructed a coal forge in the shop, but now uses a torch instead. The torch allows him greater control in heating the metal as he works it. Under his artistic eye, it undergoes a metamorphosis and emerges as legs for tables, bases for chests, cabinet hardware, handcrafted knives and hand-wrought fireplace tools.
Kim’s work with wood began almost 20 years ago after she moved into an 1832 house in Harpersville. Long before today’s HGTV how-to shows, she was learning “hands-on” about restoring original pine flooring and shiplap walls. Today, wood seems to find her. Friends and neighbors offer trees that have fallen in storms or wood from sheds falling in from neglect. Often, she sees interesting pieces on her long horseback rides or resting in someone’s burn pile. She laughs as she states, “I don’t cut down trees to do this, but the wood always seems to show up!” Revis often works with cedar because it is soft and can be easily turned. Hickory is another wood she likes – it can be hard to work, but it is strong and will last a long time. The favorite wood, however, is black walnut. The wood’s natural color has unequaled beauty in her eyes. Preparing logs for “life” as furniture is a long and laborious process. It can take up to 2 years for them to dry naturally. A friend with a sawmill helps with the precise cutting needed to create what Kim imagines.
Custom Iron and Wood has been in business for almost three years. In that time, Stoney and Kim have worked with a variety of interior designers and homeowners who want something unique and handcrafted. Much of their work can be found in the homes farther down Highway 280 on Lake Martin. When asked why they do it, both agree, “to take an ‘ugly’ piece of wood that no one else saw any value in and pair it with hand-wrought metal to make something beautiful gives us great satisfaction.” They take pride in the fact that their items are one-of-a-kind. Kim finds inspiration in the wood. Stoney understands the physical properties needed for balance and strength. Together, they produce what they call their “labors of love.” Most would call them works of art you can live with and enjoy. When asked what they hope the future holds, Stoney answers quickly, “more blacksmithing and more furniture.” As people discover the beauty in Custom Iron and Wood on Highway 25 in Harpersville, no doubt there will be both.