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Updated: August 17, 2022 @ 4:20 am
“I have an aptitude for making furniture,’ says Matt Lontz, owner of Lontz Custom Woodworks in Sharon. And much of the raw stock he builds it with comes from discarded wooden pallets.
Dylan Disque, a shop worker at Lontz Custom Woodworks, carves into a block of wood using a wood lathe shop Monday in Sharon.
Connor Lengyel, a shop worker at Lontz Custom Woodworks, sands a church pew at the wood shop Monday in Sharon.
Connor Lengyel, a shop worker at Lontz Custom Woodworks, sands planks of wood at the wood shop Monday in Sharon.

“I have an aptitude for making furniture,’ says Matt Lontz, owner of Lontz Custom Woodworks in Sharon. And much of the raw stock he builds it with comes from discarded wooden pallets.
Connor Lengyel, a shop worker at Lontz Custom Woodworks, sands planks of wood at the wood shop Monday in Sharon.
SHARON – Matt Lontz knocks on wood for his business.
It’s not for good luck. Rather, it’s to see if the wood is strong enough for products at his Lontz Custom Woodworks company.
Lontz’s business is at 369 S. Dock St. in Sharon, where repurposing wood and restoring furniture has been a rapidly growing trade for the 2018 Mercer High School graduate.
“I first started working out of my home,’’ Lontz said.
He enjoys using refurbished wood to create home and business products ranging from tables to wall decorations. But new wood such as maple and pine also is in demand.
Dylan Disque, a shop worker at Lontz Custom Woodworks, carves into a block of wood using a wood lathe shop Monday in Sharon.
“I have an aptitude for making furniture,’’ Lontz said.
He grabbed onto his fast-track career in high school. Taking carpentry courses at the Mercer County Career Center in Coolspring Township, he learned more than just a few lessons on furniture-making.
Particle wood is gaining in favor among furniture producers. Created from lumber waste that includes sawdust and shavings, it’s cheaper than solid and soft woods straight from the tree.
“But particle wood isn’t nearly as strong as solid wood that we use,’’ Lontz said. “If you fell on a table made of particle wood, the table will break. If you fall on one of our tables made of hard wood, it will break you.’’
The business also handles restoration work, from church pews to chairs.
Since moving 18 months ago into a building that once was part of Flower Lumber Co., Lontz has hired two full-time employees and a part-time upholsterer.
Connor Lengyel, a shop worker at Lontz Custom Woodworks, sands a church pew at the wood shop Monday in Sharon.
Cranking up his business during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a wild ride of skyrocketing raw material prices on everything from natural gas to food. But Lontz found out two things: There’s a surging demand among consumers for pallet wood products. and the material is dirt cheap.
“We get calls from businesses all the time asking us to take away their pallets,’’ he said.
Check home decoration and construction websites and you’ll likely find volumes of recycled wood products such as cabinets, tables, shoe benches, and wall paneling. Even wedding decorations have caught the recycling bug as websites tout how to use pallets for bridal shower backdrops and flower holders at nuptial services.
And there’s lots of places to find pallets.
“You see on Facebook pages for free,’’ Lontz said. “And there’s market places where they just place it on the side of the road.’’
It does have labor costs.
“We have to take man-hours to pull each pallet apart,’’ Lontz said.
Many people enjoying the rough-hewn look of pallet boards.
But for those who prefer a more traditional appearance, Lontz and his crew can buff the haggard pallet wood to look like pristine lumber.
And pallet wood isn’t his only recycled material.
“You see at estate sales that they have pieces of barn wood – some of those nice big beams that were worked on by hand,’’ Lontz said.
Recycled hardwoods also are in demand. He recently used recycled tiger maple to create a humidor.
“There’s all kinds of things you can create with recycled wood,’’ Lontz said.
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