Hand Carved Mezuzahs From Found Tree Branches

Albuquerque, New Mexico 228 Sales On Etsy since 2012

5 out of 5 stars (57)


Hand Carved Mezuzahs From Found Tree Branches

Albuquerque, New Mexico | 228 Sales

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Hershel Mutka Weiss

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Hershel Mutka Weiss


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About hershelswoodworks

Sales 228
On Etsy since 2012

I opened my father's toolbox as a young boy and fell under the spell of the tools. As soon as I could wield a handsaw, I started making things of wood.

It's a fifteen minute bike ride through the Rio Grande Valley from my apartment near Old Town Plaza to my studio at a synagogue named Nahalat Shalom, which translates as "Inheritance of Peace", or "River of Peace". It's in the path of migrating Whooping Cranes and Canadian Geese and home to a roadrunner or two. I share an old building with the synagogue's school room and on Thursday afternoons I can hear the young ones singing and shouting, hard at play and they can sometimes hear my machines' equally loud response. I exchange work hours for my rent, everything from pulling weeds and building compost bins to building the sanctuary entry doors.

In the 1970's I lived in a tiny three room house. One room became my workshop. I read every book in the library on woodworking and furniture, built a workbench from scrap wood and spent most of my time restoring old tools and repairing antique furniture. For ten years I tried to teach myself the craft.

In 1985 I went to Ft. Bragg, California to study with the renowned cabinetmaker James Krenov. It was an intense nine months of 50-60 hour weeks.
For a year after graduating I didn’t touch tool to wood, but my boxed up tools were like boxes of light. I was living in a cabin in the redwoods. I wrote a novel.

A week after my return to New Mexico in April of 1988, my father died. I used my small inheritance to buy some machines and I started working full time building furniture of my own design. My father used the word "mechanic" to describe anyone who was good at their job. Whether you were an accountant, plumber, or flight attendant, if you repaired bicycles, or were a surgeon or a woodworker, if you cared about what you did, and did it well, you gained the title "good mechanic", the highest praise. My father's father, a tailor, filled the bill, and I am trying to do the same.

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  • Hershel Mutka Weiss


    I've been a full time furniture maker since graduating from the The College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program in 1986. I grew up in New York City and moved to Albuquerque in 1971. I've been to Spain three times, studying the old synagogues.

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