Against the Grain is a series spotlighting those who are underrepresented in the woodworking, carpentry, and construction industry. We speak with people working on projects—from whole-home renovations to intricate wood sculptures—to learn what inspires them, how they’ve carved their own space (pun intended), and what they’re working on next.
When Brittany Dyer was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer alongside a tumor that had wrapped itself around her spinal cord, she was paralyzed from the waist down and lost her ability to work. But despite the loss of her mobility, she never lost her ability to fight. Using woodworking as therapy, Dyer—alongside her wife, Heather—ultimately created a successful business called Beautiful Fight Woodworking.
We spoke to Dyer and her wife-slash-business-partner about their journey into woodworking—one that all began as a therapeutic hobby.
How did you first get interested in woodworking?
Brittany Dyer: I “helped” my dad with a few projects growing up, but the main reason we got into woodworking came from necessity. I’d lost my job due to complications from my battle with a very rare cancer. We needed income just as much as I needed to create. There has always been a healing power in creating for me. We saw pallet signs were selling well on Facebook Marketplace, and we knew the profit would be higher if we made the signs ourselves versus buying them premade. We had no idea it would grow into a full-time business. It shows that beauty can grow from the darkest of times.
It shows that beauty can grow from the darkest of times.
What project are you proudest of at the moment?
BD: A project we’ll never forget: we had an order for 27 mini fridge tables for a small ranch-style hotel in Texas. We felt so confident until about halfway through the order, and then we felt like we would never make it to the end. It was such a difficult order to complete, but so rewarding once it was all finished up.
What was your biggest fail that became a valuable lesson?
BD: To be super honest, I think it was not controlling the rate at which we grew. Instead, we added extra pressure on ourselves and sacrificed the balance between work and our personal lives. That is not easy for me to say, but I think it’s important for other business owners, or even hobbyists, to understand it’s okay to grow at your own pace. Everyone’s dreams look different.
What was the first thing you ever built?
Heather Dyer: My first project was making two pallet signs that we put for sale on Facebook Marketplace and eventually led to creating the Beautiful Fight Woodworking business
BD: This is so small town, but my dad and I built a chicken coop that we rightfully named “Coop Deville” when I was in college.
When did you realize this was more than just a hobby?
BD: With my physical limitations, I can only do so much alone. Heather was working full-time and then helping me finish projects at night. When orders began to grow and we got to a point that it could equally replace her income, we took the leap of faith into our business.
If budget and time were no constraint, what would you love to build?
HD: If there was no budget or time constraint we would love to build a converted van for camping. That would truly combine all of our family’s favorite things into one.
What’s one thing you wish people understood about woodworking?
BD: I wish more people understood that you don’t need to have experience or a ton of money to invest to get started. We started with about $80 between us and a drill older than me; fancy tools are nice but you don’t need them to make beautiful pieces. That part is up to you.
What’s been the most rewarding part of learning to build?
BD: It’s been incredible to apply our skills into our own home; we enjoy building things for our foster son, like a tire shelf for his toy cars. Building items for ourselves is not something we’ve taken the time to do as much as either of us would like to over the past several years, but he has reminded us to slow down more.
BD & HD: Walnut
Favorite tool or piece of equipment?
BD: Table saw
BD: Mosaic coffee table
HD: Chevron bed
BD & HD: To continue to learn about new joinery
Favorite step of the process?
BD & HD: Adding the clear coat finish
Music on or off while working?
BD & HD: Off, mostly because it’s so loud!
Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.