Anyone driving down US 1 South has noticed the property adorned with picnic tables, swings and benches and a sign stating “Handcrafted Outdoor Furniture.”
This is where lifelong St. Augustine resident Roger LeBlanc who, as the name implies, makes items such as picnic tables, swings, benches, gliders, chairs, children’s furniture and playground sets completely by hand.
Some would say his talent runs in his blood. Roger’s father was trained as a master carpenter by his father and uncles. Roger’s father then passed his talent and knowledge on to his sons teaching them the art of woodworking and carpentry.
For years, Roger applied his skills remodeling homes in the nation’s oldest city. However, when the economy collapsed in 2008 work for builders – and remodelers – was severely impacted. Roger adapted, shifting gears slightly but continuing to do what he loved – building with wood.
Roger’s business started with his sister. She asked him to build a new deck and several outdoor furniture pieces. Other family and friends who saw the pieces liked them, and then also ordered furniture from Roger. And slowly word spread.
While – and because – Roger loves the art of carpentry and woodworking, he does not want Handcrafted Outdoor Furniture to be a big business operation. He prefers to do all design and construction himself to assure quality.
Roger loves being able to create enduring pieces with his hands and experiment with new designs, sometimes in collaboration with his clients. As a result, his favorite pieces are almost always something unique and custom-made. A couple of years ago, an elderly woman came to the shop with a collection of antique tiles representing the profession of pharmacists that her husband (a retired pharmacist) treasured. He always wanted to display his collection. Roger designed and built a side table displaying the inlaid tiles on top for the client to place next to his favorite chair.
Roger sources his materials locally and most commonly works with pressure-treated pine because of its durability and weather resistance. Each piece of wood is hand-sanded and rounded for smoothness and then sealed with superior wood sealer. All items are fully braced to prevent warping over time and all hardware used is exclusively stainless steel.
Roger displays sample items at his property which clients can order. He also welcomes requests for custom designs. In addition, Handcrafted Outdoor Furniture does furniture repairs. Meet Roger at his booth at Made in St. Augustine and see his handcrafted outdoor furniture displayed throughout the festival.