There is something wondrous about wood. Whether enjoying an old-growth forest or admiring an antique piece of wood furniture, we are somehow transported back in time. If you have ever been in a classically appointed home with quality wood furniture, each piece tells a unique story. You can sense it and even smell it. Wood is warm and inviting.
Gleman & Sons Custom Woodworks, a family-operated, environmentally conscious woodworking company in Sanford, understands there is no limit to what is possible with wood. From hardwood flooring, farm tables, barn doors, vanities, and café tables, to specialty countertops, fireplace mantels, wine racks, shelving, and rustic cabinetry, each item created by Gleman & Sons is a custom work of art as much as it is a piece of furniture. Every piece is unique with its own feel and character. The company, founded in 2005 in a family barn in Mims, ensures every customer infuses his or her imagination and personal vision into each item.
“I always wanted to make furniture and have my own woodworking shop,” says Jon Gleman, founder and director. “I worked on the Space Coast with Boeing as a design engineer for 25 years, but the whole time woodworking was my passion, so I finally decided to take the leap and go for it.”
Jon’s sons, Jon Adam (operations manager) and Adrian (production manager), helped make their dad’s dream come true. From the time they were boys, they loved working with wood. In 2005, Adrian went to the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine and graduated from the comprehensive four-month program with the skill-sets required to make a woodworking company successful. Jon Adam, who was also working on the Space Coast for the United Space Alliance, answered the call to live the family dream.
“When I got back from school, I got the company rolling while my dad and brother transitioned from their other jobs,” Adrian explains. “I remember coming to Cramer Lumber in Sanford and loading up our trailer with wood to take back to our barn. We began with individual pieces, but through word of mouth, we started to get more project work.”
In 2010, the company officially opened a 1,200-square-foot commercial facility in Oviedo. Also at that time, Adrian had a friend in North Carolina who was taking down an old barn and asked if they wanted the reclaimed lumber. They drove up to get it, and a Gleman & Sons specialty was born. Working with reclaimed wood requires a specific cleaning, drying, and cutting process, but the items crafted from it have unmatched character and charm.
“Almost immediately, we started talking about expanding, getting more woodworkers and having our own lumberyard,” says Jon Adam. “We grew to five buildings and 10,000-square-feet in Oviedo, but we actually needed twice as much space. That’s when we found out Cramer Lumber was leaving, so we jumped on that opportunity.”
The Glemans agreed to buy Cramer Lumber’s Sanford facility – all 53,000 square feet. As Jon, Sr. likes to say, “We went with our customers from farmhouse to clubhouse.”
Today, with 15 full-time employees – including custom woodworkers and mill workers – and a number of projects ongoing, Gleman & Sons runs the gamut of work from rustic to pristine. Interior decorators, custom home design architects, and general contractors are all an important part of the company’s customer base.
“It’s all about quality and reputation, as well as range of work,” says Jon Adam. “We don’t shy away from a challenge and will tackle anything. We have a diverse set of clients from all over the state, both commercial and residential.”
With all the growth, the Glemans have never lost sight of why they decided to pursue this dream in the first place.
“There’s nothing like the woodworking process,” says Adrian. “Creating something unique from wood and seeing that final result never gets old.”
“At the end of the day, I’m working with my two sons, and I can’t ask for anything more than that,” says Jon, Sr. “We all love this business. My sincere hope is to hand it down and keep it in the family.”