The rich scent of fresh-cut wood fills the shop of custom furniture builder Charles Morris, owner of Handcrafted by Charles. Wooden bowls, weed pots, vases, tables and all manner of works-in-progress are scattered throughout the shop.

Morris specializes in hand-crafted furniture, lamps, decorations and just about anything made out of wood. He uses what he calls the “Old world tradition” and crafts items only from solid American hardwoods.

His love for carpentry began after he married his wife, Ellen (Pitcock) Morris, and worked as a carpenter’s helper at a home building company in Austin. Within two months, Morris was running the company’s biggest framing crew.

It was then that he decided to start his own home building company, Charles Morris Homebuilders, which served the areas of Round Rock, Austin and Georgetown. In eight years, Morris built roughly 150 homes in that area.

Morris’ knowledge of carpentry lead him to build houses and an apartment complex in Kennedy and Three Rivers, just south of San Antonio. However, he eventually tired of the constant traveling and building and decided to take a break from carpentry for a while.

At age 34, he was accepted to Texas A&M University, where he graduated as a petroleum engineer. After working various places, he and Ellen moved back to Graham where he worked for Pitcock, Inc., as a petroleum engineer. During that time, he started his own company, Woodedge Landscape Products, and kept the company going for seven years until he sold out to a competitor.

After he sold his company, Morris worked in Dallas as a production manager in an electronics firm during the week and came home to Ellen on the weekends. Morris was then hired to work for the Texas Railroad Commission, where he worked for eight years and then retired.

Afterward, he worked for an oil and gas company out of Breckenridge. But during all of that career building, something was still missing for Morris. Three years ago, he retired from the work-a-day world for good. Carpentry is now his only ambition, and he couldn’t be happier.

Read the entire story in Wednesday's edition of The Graham Leader.