Woodworker and craftsman carries on family legacy at Hescott Design Co. in Downtown Bay City

Josh Hescott turned a passion for woodworking into a business in Downtown Bay City.

After years of working from the family home and designing furniture for family and friends, Hescott recently decided his company is big enough to move into a vacant building at 115 Third St.

The Shop, as he is calling the downtown location of Hescott Design Co., opened in late March.

Hescott is a self-taught woodworker who has perfected his craft by working alongside others. His first mentor was his wife’s grandmother.

“I would kind of hang around her in the shop and see what she was doing,” Hescott says. “I was woodworking, rudimentary woodworking in my teens and early 20s.”

Photo courtesy of Hescott Design Co.Hescott says he likes to let the color and grain of the wood shine through in his furniture. He also favors clean lines for his designs.Later a move to Hawaii put him in touch with another woodworker, Frank Pullano, who specialized in working with native woods. Hescott worked alongside Pullano for a time before his family moved back to Michigan.

Once on the mainland, Hescott took a job working for Dow Chemical, but he says he was always woodworking on the side. It didn’t take long before the family decided he needed to do one or the other.

“My wife's job has taken off to where she was doing more traveling and, we kind of decided one of us has to stay back a little bit with the kids more to help out as they're younger. So, I was like, why don't I try to woodwork full time and make a business get going?”

For the next few years, Hescott picked up commissions and built a clientele while working from home. Through it all, he and his wife talked about someday opening a shop.

This year, as he approached his 49th birthday, he noticed a vacant building on Third Street. His wife, Tracy Hescott, looked at him and said “You know, you’re not getting any younger. If you're gonna try it, why not give it a whirl?”

Graphic courtesy of Hescott Design Co.Inside The Shop, Josh Hescott focuses on specialty, commissioned projects.

“I’m mainly trying to concentrate on commission builds but specializing in larger builds, dining tables, tables of all sorts.”

He builds sofa tables, coffee tables, dining tables, or small media cabinets, but always in a specific, clean style. He also likes the look of the natural wood.

“It's like a mid-century Danish modern aesthetic. So like clean line builds,” he says. “It's all real wood – walnut, cherry, maple. There's not a lot of staining going on. I like that the color of the wood is the final color of the wood, but they let the grain kind of show and speak through.”

Hescott invites everyone to stop at The Shop and check out his work. You can also find videos on Facebook and YouTube.

True to his roots, Hescott also says he’s more than happy to help other woodworkers, just like he was helped from the beginning.

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Read more articles by Denyse Shannon.

As a feature writer and freelance journalist, Denyse Shannon has written professionally for over two and a half decades. She has worked as a contractor for daily and weekly newspapers, national and local magazines, and taught introductory media writing at her alma mater – Central Michigan University. She also holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University. She and her husband live in Bangor Township and enjoy sailing on the Bay, and are avid cyclists.