We recently chatted with Tysha, one of the key players in our custom finishing group. Tysha is one of those happy folks, always wearing a big smile, a cheerful attitude, and full of fun stories about her daughter. We talked about her role at Pioneer Millworks, her favorite products, and her secret obsession (she has an affinity for the old and storied):
What do you like about living and working in Upstate NY?
My favorite part of living in New York is fall foliage. The change in colors is awesome. I’m looking forward to taking a ride on the local ski lift to check out the leaves one of these years.
You’ve been part of our team for several years. What’s your role?
I’m part of the finishing team. Our finishes have become more complex and there’s always something new. I like the fact that each day is something different and each piece of wood is unique. Just this past week I’ve been finishing timbers and they’re a whole other animal compared to boards!
What’s your background with wood?
Actually, I came in with no knowledge of wood. I even noted that on my application! I explained that I’d love to learn and now I know way more than I ever expected. I’ve taken some of what I’ve learned and used it at home. I just completed re-finishing the oak flooring in the bedrooms at home. They were original floors and pretty well-worn. Now they’re beautiful!
What about wood appeals to you?
Reclaimed appeals to me. Re-using it is a preservation of history and the character its built over the years is brought back to life and appreciated. Every piece has a story; you can’t really replicate it.
Which product you work with is your favorite?
Our products? I really like [reclaimed] Elm. The little ray fleck it tends to have, the iridescence. I like it with a pure finish. Although, we’ve just experimented with a ’natural’ finish and that looked great, like the wood had no finish at all. That may be my new favorite finish.
If we’re talking any wood, I love spalted maple. I love how the decay brings colors and patterns in the wood.
How about finishes?
Oh, the funky colors we’re playing with right now are really cool. That burst of color is so much fun. I can see it incorporated randomly into paneling or flooring or even a table would be sweet!
What fun finishing story can you share with us?
You know, we all get along so well in finishing. We have fun. Nothing really comes to mind–oh! There was this one time when we scared Steve [our finishing leader]. Pam [sampling and finishing guru] is obsessed with cardboard boxes. We found a huge box and during break Pam hid in it. I grabbed Steve and told him Pam’s obsession was out of control and he should come look. When we was nearby Pam popped up and out of the box. Steve jumped back and yelped out loud before rolling with laughter. [We had to pause here as Tysha was laughing deeply with the memory.] It was great! We all really laughed hard that time.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I like to hike, sometimes alone, sometimes with my daughter. Ithaca is amazing and the hiking there is the best. Of course I like cooking… [We’ve all been the happy recipients of Tysha’s cooking endeavors!] I recently started teaching my daughter how to cook, starting with breakfast food. She’s doing pretty good!
What’s quirky about you?
I’m obsessed with antiques, I love antiquing. One of my first dates with my boyfriend was antiquing. There’s a new shop out near me and I’m so looking forward to checking that out. Mostly we like stopping in at whatever shop we randomly come across when traveling. It’s fascinating to look at everything, to imagine how it was used before. It’s just fun!