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Exquisite taste. Beautiful craftsmanship. A continual quest for excellence. These three elements combine to make J.W. Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts (www.morlanwoodgifts.com) one of the finest purveyors of individually-made solid wood items in the world. As a young boy helping his father with carpentry jobs, Johnny Morlan could never guess that one day his gorgeous wood pieces would adorn not only the finest American and European homes, but would even be presented to the President and First Lady of the United States.
When Johnny was just seven years old, living in Moberly, Missouri with his family, he began assisting his father, working on various carpentry projects. By the time he was a teen, the artistry that would later make him such a success was already apparent. "My dad would get annoyed with me because I would always want to make the finish moldings and cabinets more intricate," Johnny chuckles. He loved making small wood objects, but was often told by his father and others that there just wasn't a market for such items. "Well, in 1989, I stopped listening to the nay-sayers, "Johnny says, "and I've never looked back."
Having already worked for a furniture contractor and in the lumber and hardware businesses, he had a solid base of knowledge as he founded J.W. Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts. But he also had a passion to keep learning and growing in his craft, reading over 220 books on the subject and constantly striving for perfection. Now working in Lubbock, Texas and a recognized master in his trade, Johnny Morlan has worked with over 350 species of wood and keeps more than 125 species in stock. He cares deeply about the environment, works with woods endorsed by the Rainforest Alliance Smart Wood Program, and in the last few years was nominated for several distinguished leadership awards.
Johnny sent me three pieces recently: The Americana Letter Opener, The Desk Set, and The Music Keepsake Box. The sleek, elegant Americana Letter Opener ($39.95) is made from Teak wood imported from Burma, India. Its titanium-plated blade has the rich look of 24kt gold and would be a tasteful addition to any home or office. The Desk Set ($95.95) is made from Paela wood imported from Bolivia. The sharp lines of its wood give it an almost art deco look, and its pen, base, and business card holder are 24kt gold-plated for the sophisticated look today's upscale businessman or woman demands. The Music Keepsake Box ($164.95), carved from striped Sapele wood from West Africa, makes a gift that any wife, mother, or daughter would cherish for a lifetime. Textured ruby red cathedral stained glass tops the beautiful Sapele wood, the stripes of which give the illusion of changing color when walking by or turning it over in one's hands. Like everything Johnny Morlan painstakingly and lovingly makes, it is a treasure that begs to be handed down from one generation to the next.
I guess what I love the most about J.W. Morlan's Unique Wood Gifts is that it suits any gift-giving need. Whether you're looking for an impressive corporate gift for a higher-up with whom you play golf once a year, or presenting the love of your life with a romantic piece that will become a family heirloom, you can find it on Johnny's fascinating, easy-to-use website (www.morlanwoodgifts.com). Jewelry boxes, humidors, single handgun cases, and more are clearly presented. With each gift, Johnny offers a lovely Certificate of Genuineness on which he will write your own personal message. And if you have a special, unique request, don't hesitate to ask! Johnny Morlan has already proven the nay-sayers wrong, but he's always up for the next challenge.Back to Tips & Techniques