Blood Line In A Barrel: James Broyhill And Heritage Handcrafted’s Barrel Furniture

In 1926, in the small town of Lenoir, North Carolina, a man began to build a chair. That man, James Edgar Broyhill, turned that one chair into a furniture empire that, in its heyday, was one of the largest employers in the state.
Four generations later, James Thomas Broyhill II of Heritage Handcrafted was given a whiskey barrel. In a small makeshift workshop attached to his home in South Charlotte, the barrel sat amongst random pieces of wood, camouflage waders, shotgun shells, and old nostalgia. Finally, James decided to do something with that old barrel. He took it apart and with the thirty three individual wood strips known as staves, the galvonized iron hoops, and the basics of woodworking taught to him by his maternal grandfather, his first piece of furniture was born.

According to the Winston Salem native, “The inspiration behind the whiskey barrel creations developed out of a personal challenge to create something unique out of something with true character.”

The whiskey and wine barrels that he uses to build these special pieces define character. They are traditionally constructed out of American White Oak, the interiors are lightly charred, the curvitures and bends are fluid, and the aged wood is physically strong and sound. The wine barrels, also, because of the stain from the red wine, have an amazingly colorful finish.

Heritage Handcrafted Barrel Stave Bottle Holder

Heritage Handcrafted Barrel Stave Bottle Holder

The barrels, according to James of Heritage Handcrafted, “Provide a great medium for creating furniture and the appearance of the aged wood is what really brings the pieces to life.”

Since that first bench was planned and completed he has proudly built a variety of unique pieces ranging from benches and bar stools to gun racks, wine racks and even candle holders.

“While I am proud to carry the Broyhill name, I am even more proud to carry on the tradition of creating unique furniture pieces out of wood,” James said.

Heritage Handcrafted Barrel Stave Candle Holder
Heritage Handcrafted Barrel Stave Candle Holder

In an era where furniture comes in boxes with pegs and directions, an artisan philosophy like James’ should not go unnoticed. We will never know if furniture is in his blood but without a doubt the artistry and craftsmanship of his bloodline is resurrected in his authenticity.

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