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The City Journals

Chris Timm - A one-man operation that keeps on building

Jun 29, 2020 10:57AM ● By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones | [email protected]

Chris Timm, owner and operator of C. Timm Custom Furniture, believes in sticking your neck out, especially when things get tough.

While his wife works full time at home at her computer, finishing out her last week for the Granite School District, Timm is keeping two boys busy and far away from the living room couch where cushions have been used as mini trampolines.

“It’s tough,” he said. “Before COVID-19, I worked at the shop during the day, now I’m home with the kids—two boys—and work at the shop at night. My schedule right now is a little warped.”

Currently, Timm has “five jobs” at the shop “going at once.” Something, he says, is fantastic, especially during now when so many businesses are struggling. “I am backed up three months.”

Recently, he got a call for a project he just didn’t have time for. And he is hopeful things will continue to move forward.

“I haven’t missed a step for the last two to three months,” he said. “I always have work to do. Currently two of my jobs are with interior designers.” 

Timm typically uses other people’s designs, from restoration to building, but said he sometimes wishes he could do more creative work, stuff that he could fill a studio with, but said frankly, “How do you make a living doing that?”

C. Timm Custom Furniture, established in Millcreek in 1982, focuses on repair, restoration and building custom-made furniture. A one-man business that is not too far off the mark from where Timm began as a 14 year old learning the ropes from his father. Timm’s business is about “making the best product possible no matter the size of the piece.”

Timm’s latest project was a recently restored chair. “I still have it in my shop,” he said. “There’s a lot of cording on it and blue leather. I was worried about that, but it looks really cool.”

Mostly commission based, Timm spends much of his time “building new designs, or making reproductions of various period furniture,” he said. 

The family business, Vintage Arts, which opened in 1967, and where Timm learned the skills of furniture restoration and finishing, was located just around the corner from his current location at 3474 S. 2300 East. Today, Timm speaks excitedly about where he has taken his father’s business—from restoration and finishing, to furniture building and even electric guitar making.

A few hundred people have found a home for their new electric guitar built by Timm. He has even built 50 or so for himself and admits “he plays a little bit.”

“I’m not a musician, though,” he said. “And building guitars is more of a hobby.” 

He has been refinishing, building and engineering the electric guitar for about seven years, and though he doesn’t see himself making a living at it, he does admit that this particular skill, as well as the skills he’s learned since 14, has allowed him to step out of his shop every once in a while and have some fun. 

Timm enjoys hiking, camping, biking, skiing and fishing.

He loves living close to Parley’s Canyon and said he went fishing “just last week.”

As of fall semester, Timm will be continuing his work as a teacher at Salt Lake Community College. His classes in electric guitar engineering, furniture refinishing, and building personal projects, has interested students from teens to retirees. 

“I like being a part of the school,” he said. “I love the energy and creativity in the guitar class. It’s kind of cool to see what the students come up with.”