BizVoice -- January / February 2018

62 BizVoice/Indiana Chamber – January/February 2018 Tabb Adams builds things to last, a practice instilled in him by his father and grandfather and inspired by his great-grandfather. The fourth-generation carpenter operates his own custom furniture business out of a barn that is over 100 years old (and has been in his wife’s family all that time) in Sheridan in northwesternHamilton County. The pin-frame barn that used to house dairy cows was built in 1905. A well-worn crosscut saw hangs near the front door to Adams’ shop entrance. It was the inspiration for the name of his business, Cross Cut Vintage Designs. BizVoice ® traveled to his property in early November for a tour of the historic barn-turned-workshop. Adams, in his late 40s and with a greying beard, greets us wearing his work “uniform”: shorts, a flannel shirt and a ballcap (a peek at his social media presence on Instagram and Facebook shows those are his normal work threads). Though it is a chilly November afternoon, the shorts make sense. When Adams converted the lower level of the barn to his workshop, he poured a concrete floor and insulated the shop. Portable heaters nearby keep the area toasty and a lumber drying kiln in the next room gets up to 120 degrees at times. With steel guitar riffs creating a relaxed atmosphere, and after a look at some of the projects he’s currently working on, we sit down to talk about Adams’ one-man shop that he has infused with local history and a passion for using high-quality materials. Working for yourself Adams admits he’s a bit of a “loner” and enjoys the solitude of working by – and for – himself. He went to school to be an aircraft mechanic. Later, he was the building engineer for 13 years at what is now the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (originally Deer Creek). After growing tired of the daily grind, he started his own construction company. “I got super burnt out. I couldn’t find my place,” he recollects. “Finally, I thought, ‘You know all the stuff about fixing things. Why don’t you just start your own construction business?’ ” He was his own boss for 10 years before selling his company. A friend told him the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Coliseum needed a new facilities manager; he got the job and did that for about six months. But coming back to work for others after 10 years on his own was challenging. “My stress level was through the roof,” he says. “I was sitting at my desk and I felt like I was having a heart attack. It was probably just a panic attack. But I was like, ‘Man, I can’t do this anymore.’ It was horrible. I’m just one of those people. I have to work for myself.” He left the job and after some soul- searching and inspiration from his mother, he started Cross Cut Vintage Designs. She recently gave him the first piece he ever built: a shelf he made in shop class as a freshman in high school. He didn’t realize it had been hanging in his parents’ home all these years. He started the business about two years ago, after taking time to restore the original Carpenter Takes Inspiration From 100-Year-Old Barn MAN AND HIS PLACE By Charlee Beasor Tabb Adams constructs a barn door television console – the “bread and butter” of his custom furniture shop.