Luke Greving

Luke Greving takes a circular saw to a slab of walnut tree wood in his shop east of Alton.

ALTON—Luke Greving is carrying on his father’s legacy of putting care into his craft with Homestead Woodworking.

His father, Mark, owned and operated Mark’s Cabinet Shop in Alton for 22 years.

As a child, Luke would help his father with projects regularly, but never envisioned woodworking as a career for himself.

“I always kind of knew him having a shop there — going down there Saturday mornings, sweeping the floor, making some small stuff out of scraps,” Luke said. “I just kind of grew up around it.”

The shop closed in 2000 and Mark Greving died in 2006 at 51 years old.

After graduating from South Dakota State University in Brookings with his bachelor’s degree in industrial management in 2009, Luke Greving started doing some small projects on the side. He and his wife, Maggie, were living in Omaha, NE. He repurposed old doors and made them into benches and hall trees.

“They were fairly crude. Nothing fancy by any means,” the 33-year-old said.

He started out selling his pieces on Craigslist, but things picked up after he was contacted by a restaurant owner in Omaha about some projects.

“This guy was starting a restaurant — a pretty high-end restaurant, and he wanted me to make a couple pieces,” Luke said. “I got quite a bit of exposure off doing that.”

Luke and Maggie moved to his parents’ acreage just a couple miles east of his hometown of Alton in 2011. Finding himself taking on more woodworking projects, Luke decided to dedicate himself to his business, Homestead Woodworking, full time in 2012.

One of the most popular requests Luke gets is for dining tables. He has made more than 130 dining tables in seven years, but no two pieces are identical. Everything Luke makes is a custom piece.

“My favorite thing to do is when someone comes to me with a general concept of what they want and they just say, ‘We trust your design skills,’” he said. “I can kind of throw my own twist on it. There’s no two weeks that I walk into the shop that I’m doing the same thing.”

Luke relies on his own designs and does not make anything in bulk.

“You’ve got to just have your own vision for it,” he said. “It’s not something you can expect someone else to do for you.”

Many of the pieces Luke has made recently have come from locally sourced wood. He has found that customers value seeing a nearby tree or wood from their old barn being repurposed into something that will be with them for years to come.

“People like having a story behind it,” he said.