Local sawmill brings lasting memories through woodworking to mid Michigan

Run out of Weidman, Michigan, ZH Creations is a family owned and operated business looking to bring their love of woodworking to the public.

From taking woodshop classes and making memorable wood creations with his family in his youth, to now teaching custom charcuterie board making classes, what was once just a hobby has become a part-time business for ZH Creations owner, Zach Hatfield. 

Hatfield’s love of woodworking began as a child while he watched his father craft in the family workshop. As a young boy, Hatfield immediately took interest in woodworking and spent much of his childhood working with his father in addition to taking woodshop classes at school. 

As an adult, owning a sawmill was always a dream of Hatfield's, but his career and family life quickly pushed those plans to the backburner. It was not until Hatfield’s father passed away a few years ago that he realized life was too short not to make ZH Creations a reality. 

With the help of family and friends, Hatfield added a sawmill onto his workshop, fixed up his father’s old truck to use as a delivery vehicle, and got to work. 

“Working in the shop became a way of coping for me,” Hatfield shared with Epicenter. “My dad was the one who taught me all of this, so these projects became a way for me to connect with him.”

In the beginning, ZH Creations mostly focused on projects for family and friends, but as word of mouth spread, more clients began contacting Hatfield. 

ZH Creations has now expanded their customer base to include clients across Michigan.

(Photo courtesy of Zach Hatfield)A majority of ZH Creations’ work is commission based work. From tables, to bar top counters, and even bed frames, ZH Creations has taken on a variety of woodworking projects. 

Commission work varies in price depending on the materials, labor, and length of time the project will take. Each commission is uniquely tailored to fit the client’s requests. Possibly the most unique request Hatfield has received to date was a river-style coffee table featuring the client’s children’s baby teeth within the epoxy river. 

“I like doing unique stuff. I just want the client to be happy,” Hatfield said.

(Photo courtesy of Zach Hatfield)In addition to individual commissions, ZH Creations has also begun DIY charcuterie board making classes at their Weidman-based workshop this spring. All materials and tools are provided by ZH Creations and the classes are instructed by Hatfield himself.

“It’s been great to get together with people and teach them about our passion while they can have fun and chat,” Hatfield said of the classes. 

Currently, the DIY charcuterie board making classes are scheduled on a case-by-case basis. 

According to Hatfield, “Right now people just call us and say they want to do a class and then we arrange a date. It can be one person or a group of people, it depends on what the client wants to do.”

(Photo courtesy of Zach Hatfield)Additionally, ZH Creations sells individual slabs of wood for those looking to create their own projects.

“Since we have a sawmill, some people just ask me to plane the wood for them and then they can do whatever they’d like with it,” Hatfield expressed while showing off his workshop. 

While ZH Creations can work with just about any piece of lumber, Hatfield shares that a majority of their customers have their pieces made out of wood that holds a memory, like their favorite childhood tree. 

“I had people contact me about making a table out of a tree that they had at their cabin. Their kids played in it when they were little and it was special to them, so they wanted to preserve it somehow,” Hatfield explained.

“I not only work with my clients to make something that is beautiful and functional, but [the projects] also have the potential to last a lifetime. My clients come to me with a vision and it is my responsibility to bring it to life,” Hatfield shares. 

The projects not only become beautiful showpieces within someone’s home, but they become a physical representation of a memory that clients and future generations can hold onto forever.

(Photo courtesy of Zach Hatfield)“It is important to the community so that we can keep locally grown, harvested and constructed pieces here for generations to come.” Hatfield continued, adding in a personal touch, “I look at pieces that my parents and grandparents created and know that is a memory they have left me and we can leave for the future.”

When asked about ZH Creations’s future plans, Hatfield shared that they are hoping to be able to hold more classes and eventually expand their classes to include projects other than charcuterie boards. 

“It’s just hard to find projects that can be done in one night. Most [woodworking projects] take a long time,” he added. 

Future projects for DIY classes may include floating shelves or picture frames, but they say they are always open to new ideas. 

To learn more about ZH Creations, see more photos, or inquire about commission work, visit ZH Creations’s Facebook page. To schedule a class or receive a quote, you can contact them via Facebook Messenger, email them at zhatfield@chsd.us, or call (989) 330-1583.
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Read more articles by Adison Reder.

Adison Reder is a student at Central Michigan University. She is studying English and Political Science with a focus in Creative Writing. She enjoys writing about LGBTQ+ Rights, American Political Happenings, and Women’s Rights Advocacy. In addition to writing, her smaller passions include coffee, dogs, and collecting vinyl records. You can contact Adison at reder1al@cmich.edu.