MoreSun Custom Woodworking, Inc. consists of a busy timber frame shop in Long Creek, South Carolina, and office and furniture shop in nearby Mountain Rest, South Carolina. Founded in 2002, it began as a simple one-man show when Stephen Morrison had a dream of creating beautiful custom woodwork and timber frames. From the beginning, he offered a variety of woodworking from cabinetry and furniture to timber framing. In the early days, he mostly worked alone, bringing in other woodworkers and craftsmen when needed. As time went on and projects grew larger, he hired skilled craftsmen to keep up with demand. Stephen wanted to continue to utilize his wide range of woodworking skills, so MoreSun offers almost any type of wood craft.
The business has grown steadily, and the scope of woodworking projects has ranged from simple utilitarian furnishings to high-end furniture and elaborate timber frame buildings. Timber framing has become their primary line of work, though they enjoy other kinds of woodworking when the opportunity arises. Most of the crew are long term employees, and throughout the years they have developed a very robust team. Their clients recognize the strong integration of the crew, and how it improves the quality of work.
In Stephen’s opinion, what sets his timber frame shop apart is the fact that “We all really love what we do and care about each job. There is not a rush to get things done and out the door, but more of a concern about what the client really wants in their project. We like the client to come see the shop and see some of the work. We sell an experience as much as a product. “
After receiving an Anthropology degree from the University of Wyoming in 1995, Stephen worked in furniture and cabinet shops in Montana, Georgia and South Carolina. He was introduced to timber framing when he was offered a job working with a team of Belgian draft horses and a portable sawmill. They would take the logs directly from the forest, mill them into squared timbers, cut them using mortise & tenon joinery,fit them together & peg each joint for the final installation. These experiences gave him a broad background in woodworking that included: furniture making, cabinetry, timber frame construction and residential carpentry. With a passion for woodworking and experience working for others, (and naive dreams!) Stephen went into business for himself. Today he wears many hats: boss, designer, timber framer, sawyer, errand boy & self-promoter.
Stephen says: “I am excited about what we do. I find what works really well for us is face to face marketing. I have joined every group I can find: chambers of commerce, home builders associations, TFG, TFBC, local green building clubs, and even our local community club. I have run for boards, joined committees, taught workshops, and hosted home school groups. I attend every function I can manage—HBA meetings, fundraiser dinners, local festivals etc. You name it, I’m there, and when I can, I take some of my crew, my wife, and my kids.”
“We try to take this idea to our jobsites. When on site, we make an effort to engage everyone: the homeowner, the builder, the electrician, the framer . . . everyone. My crew has standing orders to offer help to everyone on site. If the masons need help moving something, we drive our forklift over and move it; if the trim crew needs something, we will do our best to find it, mill it, make it, or perhaps bring it from the shop the next day. We get to know everyone.”
Stephen adds “Now, in our area, we are the timber framers. That is not to say we get all the work, but everyone knows us, and we get lots of opportunities. We get referral work from homeowners, builders, electricians, roofers, salesmen at the lumber yard, you name it, even our building inspectors and my kids’ teachers, and just because we are involved and engaged. Just a quick example: a tile guy we have worked around before gets a set of plans from a builder who has never used us. Because we worked well before and my crew helped him unload a truck, he mentions us to the builder for the timber work in the new job. Boom, we get the work! I could tell dozens of stories like that.”
“To us it’s like getting work just from keeping the ethics and ideals we value. It’s low tech, but it works and helps build community.”
For Stephen, the hardest part of running a small custom shop is balancing workload. He says, “Too much work; we either have to grow or risk running behind on schedules and promises, too little work; and the crew suffers lack of hours. It really is a difficult balance.”
In timber frame construction, budget can be a significant challenge. MoreSun Custom Woodworking works hard to fully understand the client’s wants, needs and budget. They strive to give the client as much great woodwork as they can afford, but not more than they are comfortable with. Another challenge can be coordinating the timber frame
with the local builder and site crew, who usually have never worked with a timber frame company before. They believe in spending time with the builder and crew up front, to ease any concerns. Usually, after the job is done, they can’t wait to do another one with MoreSun!
Stephen’s proudest moment was the first time his crew cut and raised a timber frame without his help. He says “It went exceptionally well. Knowing that much of their skills and knowledge came from working with me and learning together was rewarding. Now it is common place, but at the time it was a big deal.”
He also derives great satisfaction at the end of a job when the client says, “This far exceeds our expectations.” As Stephen says, “I must say, we hear that a lot.”
For more information about Moresun Custom Woodworking, Inc., visit their website at
www.moresunwoodworking.com. They are also listed in Houzz (http://www.houzz.com/pro/chanda44/moresun-custom-woodworking-inc) , and Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/moresunwoodwork/).
Stephen can be emailed here: [email protected]
Office and furniture shop:
463 Charlie Cobb Road
Mountain Rest, SC 29664
Timber frame shop:
12441 Highway 76
Long Creek, SC 29658