Love of woodworking and each other lead couple into business
SUMMIT POINT — “We have always liked to work together and have worked in the shop,” said Amanda Lutman, owner of The Rusty Nail Workshop, when referring to herself and her husband, Todd.
The couple, who have been married for 25 years, expanded what was a hobby into what is now a thriving artisan business featuring handmade and hand-painted woodwork.
Todd said that he has always worked with wood and comes from a family where carpentry is common.
“We would go shopping and Amanda would see something and I would just say, ‘I can make that.’ And, I did,” Todd said.
Over the years Todd has added his personal touch to furnishings in the couples’ home and to the home itself.
“I always did the whole woodworking thing. Mark Johnson and I used to go to his dad’s shop and make things all day,” he said of his late friend. “We made country items — that’s just the way we are.”
And when Todd provided old barn boards for a family craft gathering, a prospective business was not far behind.
“It was just an excuse for everyone to get together,” Amanda said. “We made boards and when there were extras, I kept painting.” She went on to say that when she shared pictures of some of her handiwork on Facebook, people showed an interest.
“It just went from there,” Amanda said. “It’s very therapeutic for me to paint. For me, it keeps my mind in the right place.”
The couple’s faith has been instrumental in the success of their business. The Rusty Nail Workshop’s name is a testament, as two rusty nails form a cross with a crown of thorns around it.
“I have to give gratitude and praise where it belongs,” Todd said. “And that comes from Jesus Christ, our family and our friends who have supported us.”
“We are simple people and we build simple things,” Todd said of their handiwork. “We build everything here in a tiny garage, by hand. It’s hand-painted and everything you get comes right from Summit Point, West Virginia.”
And folks from around the country are enjoying pieces crafted by the Lutmans at their workshop. Items have been sold locally and shipped to 13 different states.
“We used to get excited when we had two orders a week,” Amanda laughed. “Now we get orders almost every day.”
The big push for a Rusty Nail piece came after the duo created some beautiful West Virginia Home signs for West Virginia Fest in Charles Town. Amanda put one sign that did not sell on Facebook for Father’s Day.
“She put this picture of the sign with Sarge (the family’s dog) and asked people to like and comment. Then we were giving it away,” Todd said. “We thought we might get 100 likes and shares, but we got over 3,000 shares. Over 262,000 saw that and at that point business just blew up.”
In addition to orders from their Facebook site, the couple also attends fairs and festivals and they created signage for both the Jefferson County and Berkeley County fairs that hung behind winners of the livestock competitions.
Todd serves full-time as a police officer for the City of Ranson, as well as working evenings and weekends at The Rusty Nail. Amanda keeps busy painting all the signs by hand, many with minute subject matter, using brushes with minimal strands to create fine details. Examples of the couples’ work can be found at their Facebook page, The Rusty Nail Workshop.
Items typically take three weeks to be created and sent to customers, according to Amanda.