Justin Regan is a husband, lover of the outdoors, and a talented craftsman. In November 2016, with the support of his wife, Jacey, Justin walked away from a full-time career to follow his heart. The result was Black Hills Barnwood Creations, a business Justin now owns and operates, constructing custom creations out of reclaimed barn wood.
Your business is called Black Hills Barnwood Creations. Does all the barn wood you use come from the Black Hills?
Justin Regan: It’s more like everything is created in the Black Hills. Last summer, I got wood from a barn in Eureka. If there is wood that is aged and has character, I will save it or reclaim it — no matter where it is from.
When did you fall in love with this craft?
JR: 4 or 5 years ago, a barn fell down on my Grandpa’s property. It was built in the 1890’s, and my wife wanted a coffee table. The wood from the barn was what I had to make her one. I really enjoyed creating it, and I got a lot of positive feedback. That’s when Barnwood Creations started developing.
Do you fill custom orders for people?
JR: Yes, it’s almost all custom orders. Anything from coffee tables to farmhouse tables to end tables. I just did an order for some barn wood trophies and picture frames, and I’m currently working on barn doors for two different homes. I also create wall art pieces, which is something I’d like to do more of.
“I use old tools when I can, as well. I just like old stuff, and I like to use the stuff they might have used when they were building the barn way back in the day.”
How do you find the wood?
JR: Mainly people have reached out to me. It’s usually one of three things: It’s an eyesore, they have kids running around and it becomes a safety hazard, or they’re paying property taxes on it and want it gone. If they’re going to burn it or bury it, people give me a call first.
What’s your favorite part about the creative process?
JR: When I first started, I didn’t have a shed or a garage. We lived on Magic Canyon Road, and I built my first shop out of a carport wrapped in banners from Eagle Sales. I’d wake up, go outside, and have my coffee. The birds would be chirping, and the sawdust would be flying. That is my quintessential morning. Fresh air, sawdust, and coffee.
Each piece has a story. What story means the most to you?
JR: There was a Chevy bench I made. It’s a bench, but the back is an old Chevy tailgate. The front board came out of the barn on my grandpa’s property. The barn used to be a blacksmith shop, so when the guy would make his branding irons, he would brand the board above his workbench. The front board was that board with all these branding marks. It’s my favorite, because it came off my family’s property, but also because it is so unique. You’ll never see anything like that again.
What have you learned from starting this business?
JR: I went to college at Black Hills State University to get a business degree and hopefully get some big business job. I had a great career at Eagle Sales (now Quality Brands Distribution), and then I just go and quit my job. But I asked myself, “What would you do if you know you couldn’t fail?” This is it. I took a leap and followed my heart; I hope to inspire others to do the same.
For more information, visit blackhillsbarnwood.com.
5 UNIQUE PIECES FROM BLACK HILLS BARNWOOD CREATIONS
- A “Mustache Bench” with a matching “Mustache Coat Rack” created for a salon in Pierre, made with a support beam from Bear Butte Farms (early 1900s).
- An original barrel head draft beer dispenser from the El Cacharro (1969) and the Colonial House (1951) framed with barnwood and donated to the Colonial House by Justin.
- A giant farmhouse table built with over 100-year-old barn wood from three different Black Hills barns (Bear Butte Farms, his grandfather’s barn, and the old Chute Rooster in Hill City).
- An entryway bench with coat hooks, created for a customer from a door that was in her great grandmother’s entryway when she was a little girl.
- A portable draft bar and beer tap for a friend’s wedding, made from Bear Butte Farms and his grandfather’s barn.