Woodworking is a craft passed down from generation to generation. Even after thousands of years, men still utilize woodworking for tables, chairs, and more, whether for practical or decorative reasons. Establishing oneself as a successful woodworker with their own business is no easy task, however, as is the case with any business. Alumnus Corey Morgan has found a way to become one of those successful men, with his shop producing beautiful custom furniture, cabinetry, and more, making homes, companies, and even chapels more beautiful as a result.
Morgan, a 2007 philosophy major from Christendom, entered the woodworking field in 2010 with Seneca Hardwood, located in northwestern Pennsylvania. While there, he took part in the day-to-day operations of the bustling lumber business, learning the craft of fine woodworking along the way. After four years of hard work, Morgan’s dream of starting his own woodworking business finally became a reality, and he founded Corey Morgan Woodworks in 2014.
“During my Semester in Rome, I was struck by the beauty and craftsmanship of the woodwork in the many churches and cathedrals throughout Europe, and from this a vague and idealistic idea of a future in the craft began to take shape in my mind,” says Morgan. “What started simply as a desire to create beautiful things from wood, eventually matured into the goal of starting a business in which I could not only do this type of work everyday, but also provide a decent living for my family and potentially offer opportunities of apprenticeship and employment to others with similar dreams.”
Morgan’s shop has until very recently been a one-man show, as he has created all of the custom furniture and cabinetry with his own two hands. The result is a true labor of love, with Morgan’s own skill poured into everything that he sells and installs. Morgan works with homegrown American Hardwoods, utilizing reclaimed wood and live edge slab materials to make beautiful tables, benches, cabinetry, and more. One of his most beautiful creations is a custom Chapel, which he carved, constructed, and installed on his own.
It’s difficult to stand out in any business field, with new businesses springing up across the United States every year. Morgan has managed to carve a niche for himself with his business, and he believes that his background in philosophy and his commitment to hard work has helped with that.
“Hard work is a prerequisite to getting any venture off the ground, and when it comes to woodworking, extreme ‘hard work’ is simply the lifeblood of daily operations. Unfortunately, working hard isn’t enough to make it this field. Learning a craft thoroughly requires a constant and focused attentiveness to the relation of mind, body, and material. It is, in a certain sense, ‘philosophical’ conversation in action,” says Morgan.
“Beyond needing the skills to do quality work, you also have to develop a knack and love for the business and entrepreneurial sides if you want this to be a way to make a viable living. To me, a philosophy degree was also a great preparation for excelling and enjoying this part of the profession. Philosophy seeks understanding and not just knowledge of facts and figures. For the small business owner, there is often very little data from which to make decisions, and there might not be any ‘best practices’ to refer to. You must be able to ask the right questions, analyze complex issues quickly, think clearly and logically on your feet, and communicate effectively to all kinds of people. These are all habits you begin to foster while studying philosophy at Christendom.”
Morgan’s company has continued to expand in the three years since its founding. Morgan is currently finishing his own shop on his land in Pennsylvania, transitioning from rented space attached to Seneca Hardwood, and has brought on two full time apprentices which will further allow him to create the beautiful woodworks he is so passionate about.
When Dr. Warren Carroll founded Christendom College, he had a vision of forming lay people to go out and impact every field, from journalism, to politics, to business. Morgan is contributing to that ongoing vision with his company, truly carving his place in the legacy of Christendom.