Working Wonders

A.J. Schnell Wood Works Turns Out Custom Furniture and Art Pieces

Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Mariah Krafft

woodworkingAndrew Schnell, owner of A.J. Schnell Wood Works, a home-based custom woodworking business, has earned a reputation for excellence.

“The business is in its fifth year of creating custom wood furniture, home products and gifts,” Schnell says. “I work one-on-one with clients to create completely one-of-a-kind, custom furniture pieces that serve as a focal point in the overall design of their home or business. I also create unique cutting and serving boards that can be custom engraved to add a personal touch. These have become very popular for wedding, anniversary and housewarming gifts.”

Schnell enjoys his work and his loyal clients.

“I really like working with clients here in Zionsville,” Schnell says. “Zionsville has a genuine sense of community, and I enjoy getting to meet others and be a part of the community. I am from the small town of Jasper Indiana, and Zionsville has a very similar small-town feeling.”

Schnell says he has personal favorite projects.

“One of my favorite types of projects to work on is when a client has a tree or lumber that has some kind of sentimental meaning to them, and I am able to create something from that tree for a sentimental gift or furniture piece,” Schnell says. “For example, taking a tree that they used to climb as a child, but needed to be taken down for one reason or another – being able to take the lumber that the tree provided and create a piece for them so that the memories can live on. I call it furniture with a story.”

Schnell’s work appeals to a wide audience.

“I enjoy creating large, unique pieces of furniture that allow me to create items that are not only functional, but also beautiful to look at,” he says. “I want to create the piece that will make people stop and do a double take. Some of my favorite projects are dining-room tables. I like creating furniture that will be where the family will gather and form memories for years.”

Schnell is also a vendor at most of the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce’s local shows, including Brick Street Market.


“The Zionsville shows are actually the only shows that I participate in,” Schnell says. “I do this because it is important to me to be an active part of the community that I both live and work in. It also provides me with a great opportunity to meet many of the other local small-business owners. It is a supportive and welcoming community.”

Schnell adds that he has made several friends in Zionsville.

“Before I started this chapter of my career, I worked at Eagle Elementary here in Zionsville for about five years,” he says. “I loved working with the kids and their families. This was how I was first introduced to Zionsville, and my wife and I both fell in love with the community.”

Schnell has been creating and designing things for as long as he can remember.

“Both of my grandfathers worked most of their lives in the furniture industry,” Schnell says. “It is a big part of who I am and how I grew up. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of spending hours in my grandfather’s shop exploring, designing and building. Even today, I make sure to set aside some days to go into the shop without a plan, and to just begin playing around with new ideas. These are the times that I have gotten inspiration for some of my favorite designs.”

He has no plans to quit any time soon.


“I am deeply interested in all aspects of the trade, and I’m constantly trying to learn new techniques, all the way from how the log is cut into boards and dried, through the final installation of the piece in the client’s home,” Schnell says.

Schnell also enjoys teaching.

“If anyone is interested in learning about woodworking, I also teach classes at the Indianapolis Art Center,” he says.

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