Custom Wood have come a long way creating signs

By Maurice Garvey

WHEN the recession started 10 years ago, Tallaght man Gary Byrne was in the third year of his carpentry apprenticeship, but suddenly found himself out of a job and facing an uncertain future.

Passionate about his craft and sensing an opportunity to do something different, he started creating and selling wooden signs at a market stall in Fairyhouse every Sunday.

Custom Wood Design 02 1

Klaudia and Gary Byrne of Custom Woods

Amazingly, today Byrne’s business Custom Wood Designs manufacture a wide range of custom products for heavy industry global hitters such as Ikea, Coillte and Guinness.

The market table has been replaced with a 4,000 sq.ft warehouse in Rathcoole.

“We are working with big companies and still growing,” said Gary (34).

“We still provide timber signs for shops but last week, we made 50 shopping baskets for Lidl. Recently we made 1,000 wooden coisters for a drinks company. We do a lot of work for drinks companies, last Christmas we made corporate gift boxing for Guinness.”

The venture has come a long way since the market stall.

“I was making wooden house signs from a mobile workshop with power tools,” said Gary.

“I would be at it all day long, had the templates, used a hand router. Each one took me about 20 minutes to make, and people would be watching me all day, with sawdust flying all over the place.”

Gary enlisted the help of his then partner Klaudia (now his wife), who is the resident company artist, and between them, they create designs for client projects, from one off small pieces to larger productions.

After going to the South Dublin Local Area Officer for a business expansion grant, they moved to a makeshift unit on Old Blessington Road, where Gary built a workshop.

Outgrowing that after three years, they moved to a much bigger site in Rathcoole, employing two other people fulltime at Greenogue warehouse.

The business covers a multitude of designs from timber signage, corporate events, exhibition stands, branded timber crates, cutting boards, and laser engraving.

“Nobody is really providing what we do in Ireland,” said Gary.

“We are flat out at the moment. Klaudia as an artist is amazing. She studied design in Poland and did three years in Griffith College.”

A current project they are working on is building a wooden barn exhibition stand for a prominent food company at the annual Bloom Festival in Phoenix Park.

“It is a great opportunity and puts us on a different level. All the other companies are watching each other’s stands, so we will have our own work branded.

“We are building it here (Rathcoole), and it will be dismantled and brought to Bloom. This is one of the biggest projects we have done in scale, but we still carry out smaller jobs.”

Last week, Custom Wood Designs won €15k for ‘Best Established Business’ at South Dublin’s Best Young Entrepreneurs 2019.

Follow Custom Wood Designs new creations on their social media channels.

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