Sean Downey creates furniture using antique woodworking tools, some dating older than 100 years old. Downey, below, and his wife Tracie often make trips into Pennsylvania to scout barns for vintage wood. (Photo courtesy Sean Downey)

Sean Downey, woodcrafter and artist of Barn Life Primitives & Architecture in Chestertown, has two major objectives: Bring people to downtown Chestertown and create new designs from old wood.
Downey began working in wood after graduating high school and said he became enthralled with its beauty.
He worked indoors with wood and outdoors rock climbing.
After he suffered an accident in the shop that resulted in the loss of his left hand, he began to study antique tools and read extensively about antique barn wood.
He said he and his wife would take rides up to Philadelphia and Lancaster County, Pa., looking for unique barns.
He soon opened a shop and began creating furniture using many antique woodworking tools, some older than 100 years old.
When asked how he knew how to use these tools he replied, “I read a lot about tools and visited a lot of barns.”
His missing left hand was replaced with a prosthetic one that has not hampered his ability in creating unique pieces.
Downey said his preference is to style tables and doors and Downey is raffling off a door every month through the end of the year to benefit a local non-profit organization.
“Primitives last a long time,” he said. “They have survived wind, rain, heat and snow. I recently got wood from an old water tower in Havre de Grace which was ‘original growth.’ The tower wood was cut from the first wood cut down in America. It is an original growth of a cypress tree.”
Downey’s methods are vintage as well. He said he uses joinery, mortise and tendon, pegs, pocket holes, gigs and hand planers.
Downey uses Briwax, a finishing wax created originally in 1860 in England for woodworkers of the era, on all his projects.
When scouting wood in Lancaster he often collects barn wood from the Amish.
When he and his wife see an interesting barn they just “knock on doors.”
When he starts a project, the wood has been cleaned and dried, which rids it of any bugs and other unsightly issues.
Downey is also community-minded and said he wants to help breathe life back into downtown Chestertown.
During the week he is at work in his studio using vintage materials to create unique pieces for his twenty first century patrons.
On Saturday he is at his store at 335 B High Street.
Following a remodel, the store is set to reopen Sept. 7 for the town’s First Friday festivities.
Visitors can see works in progress, learn about vintage tool use from Downey and listen to music with a cup of coffee.
Downey added he plans to increase activity on Saturday by adding a glassblower, canoe or decoy craver in front of his store and maybe a boat builder for the park across the street.