HALSTEAD — When you step into Dana Keiser's workshop, you can see wood stacked from floor to ceiling and inhale the scent of sawdust.
Keiser, who spent time in the Navy as an aircraft mechanic and now works as a welder, said he started working with wood at a young age.
It was around eight years ago that he began taking his hobby more seriously, creating enough pieces to take to craft shows around the area under the name Keiser Kreations.
"I don't advertise," Keiser said. "It's all word of mouth."
Keiser has plenty of projects to keep him busy — from filling custom orders to making pieces for shows or creating gifts for friends and family.
It all starts with chunks of wood, many of which started as trees needing to be cut down.
"I know where the majority of my wood comes from," Keiser said. "A lot of it I get from people I know."
He uses woods such as elm, maple, cherry, oak, pine, walnut, pear and even pallet wood for his pieces.
"I try to reclaim as much as I possibly can," Keiser said.
Keiser said it is gratifying to create a piece, doing as much of the process himself as he can.
"I make the majority of my own wood," Keiser said. "I get logs and I mill them down."
Those rough pieces are turned into boxes, containers, cabinets, plaques, toys and benches.
"I personally like working with cedar for the smell. It's soft wood; it's easy to work with," Keiser said.
He likes to feature knots and woodgrains in an aesthetically pleasing manner, sometimes leaving the rough bark along the edge of a piece.
"I look at wood and I see things that a lot of people don't see," Keiser said.
Screen doors, gates and rocking horses have emerged from his workshop.
"I do almost anything you can imagine," Keiser said. "I started out doing routing by hand, now I can get a little more elaborate with the CNC."
He has begun to use a lathe and is dabbling in woodturning.
"I don't come out with a plan," Keiser said. "If I have something I have to build, I do it and get it done. If I don't have anything going on, I build boxes and other things."
The finishes he uses vary, from applying coats of polyurethane or linseed oil to using steel wool and apple cider vinegar that result in different hues of brown.
His wife, Jody, supports him by registering the Keiser Kreations booth for shows and, when two events fall on the same day, she will man a booth one place while he runs the other.
The wooden items are displayed on shelves that Keiser designed and built to be easily set up and broken down for transportation.
"Woodworking — it's a dying art," Keiser said. "I'm trying to get my granddaughter involved in it."
Though she is not yet 2 years old, Keiser's granddaughter spends time in his workshop, clamping things together or taking a marker to anything within reach.
"All the custom artwork on my table and toolbox — that's hers," Keiser said with a smile.
For more information about Keiser Kreations, call 316-772-6678 or look for their page on Facebook.