Curiosity and Creativity Come Together for a Teenage Manhattan Beach Craftsman

The young artisan.

  • Category
    Homes, People
  • Written by
    Amber Klinck
  • Photographed by
    Jeff Berting

Jack Wood is a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. During spring break this year he got bored, so he decided to build a boat. Jack had never built a boat before, but he’s not the kind of guy to let a thing like that get in the way of inspiration.

Jack Wood is a 16-year-old sophomore in high school. During spring break this year he got bored, so he decided to build a boat. Jack had never built a boat before, but he’s not the kind of guy to let a thing like that get in the way of inspiration.

“Since I was little, I always liked building stuff,” he explains. “My dad, since he’s a carpenter, has all the tools for it.”

As a fifth grader, Jack saw a YouTube video of a guy building a camper designed to be towed behind a bike. Jack was intrigued and decided to build one himself. “I never figured out how to hook it up to my bike,” he notes.

But it didn’t matter. Jack had discovered an aptitude for woodworking. “It just went from there,” he says.

Today he creates mostly home décor and abstract art pieces. He sometimes posts his work on social media—but rarely. He does have a website (jtwoodworks.org) that allows customers to shop online, though most people find him through word of mouth.

According to Jack’s mom, Janette Wood, his interest in building began long before fifth grade. “He’s been doing this since he was little, when he was 3 or 4. I remember throwing away this cheap coffee maker, and he was like, ‘Can I take that apart?’ He’s interested in how things work.”

Jack dabbles in a number of creative modalities, but it’s building and woodworking that he’s most passionate about. “I like the feeling … like, I made this. It’s kind of hard to describe.”

When asked if there’s a piece he’s most proud of or that’s most unique to him as an artist, Jack calls out his abstract planter box. It’s listed on his website as the Abstract Living Wall.

He builds primarily from a workbench with wheels that he pulls into his backyard and then utilizes a wide range of tools. If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes peek at his work, Jack has a YouTube channel you can access directly from his website with DIY tutorials. He showcases woodworking and also instructional videos on how to make string art, abstract and modern wall art, even a boat constructed of 150 empty water bottles. Jack took on that project to bring attention to the amount of plastic currently polluting our oceans, and to emphasize the importance of recycling.

He views his projects as hobbies. “For a career, I’m gravitating toward mechanical engineering,” he says.

What’s really remarkable about Jack—his artistic ability aside—is his curious nature. Whether he’s trying to understand how something works or how to build something new, or learning about a different artistic approach, his mind is always busy—and so is he.

Which brings us back to this boat he’s building in his backyard. “It’s a 15-foot sailboat,” Jack says. “My friends and I wanted to get a boat for fishing. But then we decided to build one since my dad has all the tools and I have the space. I would say I’ve spent like two or three weeks just researching what type of boat. And then all the materials, like the fiberglass. I’m still researching how to make it work.”

He has photos of the sailboat’s progress posted on his website, including an image with a 20-foot-tall mast. He’s hoping to complete the project by Halloween.

Whatever path Jack decides to take—or continue—with his woodworking, his creative and curious mind will serve him well in any endeavor he pursues.

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