By Carmen Cristo
If you ask Zack Holcomb where he got his carpentry skills, he will tell you about the Saturdays of his childhood spent at his father’s elbow.
“Saturdays were always the worst days for me. Instead of doing something fun, we were making something or fixing something. Now, I love that we did that. I’m glad my dad made me help all those Saturdays,” Zack said.
As an adult, he worked as a sander at Gibson Guitars in Memphis, sanding approximately 25,000 guitars during his tenure there. No cutting board leaves his makeshift garage workshop in Olive Branch without a final sanding by hand.
Zack’s designs must be two things: beautiful and fully functional. His boards are meant to be both displayed and used.
“The more you use it, the prettier it is,” Zack said. “More marks means more character.”
Bearing that in mind, he uses woods that are durable and trendy. His favorite is walnut for its rich color, with maple coming in at second.
Zack uses end grain, different woods and reclaimed wood pieces to create designs that look more like wall décor than serving pieces or cutting surfaces. His signature style includes a stripe of contrasting wood on one edge.
Because they are handmade and many made with reclaimed wood, no two boards are identical. The unique characteristics and craftsmanship of each piece is what makes them heirlooms, according to Zack.
Zack’s wife, Allyse, was the first recipient of a Zachary Call Custom Good. Three years ago, he made her a cheeseboard as a gift. They began gifting them to friends soon after. With Allyse’s support and the encouragement and prodding of creative friends, Zack signed up for the Indie Holiday Market in Memphis as a test-run. He took 45 boards and sold out. Once the shock wore off, he admitted that he might be on to something. Allyse now manages his carefully-styled Instagram account (@zacharycallcustomgoods).
“Allyse has pushed me more than anyone. Without her, I would not do this,” Zack said.
He and Allyse now have a son of their own, Henry, who Zack spends his Saturdays with just as his father did with him.
“I want to pass down as much as I know to him,” Zack said. “He is a bit young right now but I try to get him into the shop to let him watch me as much as he can. I tell Allyse all the time that I hope he really enjoys being outside and learning to work with his hands. It’s something I did not particularly like growing up but eventually found a passion for.”
Zack and Henry should be busy as he plans to do more craft shows in the future in Memphis and beyond. He is also in the process of expanding his product line to include rolling pins, cutting boards for sink tops and plates. For now, you can find Zack’s handmade goods and request custom orders on his Instagram page and at City & State in Memphis.