Three Trees Workshop

Giving back

We partner with Trees for the Future to plant 5 trees for every product we sell. But our support does so much more than just plant trees. Trees for the Future’s Forest Garden projects support families in sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda and Kenya where we’ve lived, by equipping them with resources and sustainable practices for increasing incomes, fostering self-sufficiency, and transforming lives. We’re really excited to have a positive impact on the environment and on people’s lives.

"Trees for the Future is improving the livelihoods of impoverished farmers by revitalizing degraded lands. Since 1989, with our experience in planting over 127 million trees all over the world, we have demonstrated the transformative power of trees in helping people break out of the poverty trap while also addressing the global environment. Today, our work in East and West Africa is helping to build a world where people can leave a legacy of opportunity through sustainable practices and productive lands for future generations."

We're committed to supporting organizations that promote the wellbeing of vulnerable or marginalized people, around the world and in our own community. Locally, we contribute to Johnson County Board of Services and Sheltered Workshop's Scholarships for Skills program, which helps individuals with developmental disabilities become more self-sufficient.

We love that we're able to spend our days doing work we enjoy, building our own business, and embracing this sweet phase of our family's life. At the same time, we believe that our own peace and joy are somehow incomplete until there is peace and joy for everyone. And so we're compelled to not just wish the world were different, but to do our small part to change it for the better. 


Cynthia was amazing to work with, despite my unique and challenging specifications, and the product was absolutely beautiful! A stunning custom cribbage board with flawless carving and engraving that will make a beautiful wedding gift for our friends. I wholeheartedly recommend this shop for quality gifts and great service at a very fair price.
— Sam J.

Our story

We’re a husband-and-wife team based in Warrensburg, Missouri. We’re both from the Midwest, but we met in Uganda while serving as Peace Corps Volunteers. We love exploring, soaking in the beauty of the natural world, and getting to know the people and cultures we encounter along the way. And in a busy, noisy world, we value simplicity and authenticity.

In the fall of 2014, we were preparing to move back to the US from Mombasa, Kenya and pondering our next steps. After a decade of transition and travel, we were eager to settle somewhere, especially since we were then expecting our first child. It seemed the perfect time to act on a dream we'd had--a full time creative pursuit based on Nathan's love for woodworking and our desire to make beautiful, useful things. And Three Trees Workshop was born.

Since then, we've enjoyed designing unique, beautiful products, and interacting with wonderful people in our own community, all over the country, and around the world who have inspired us to keep on creating.


Our values

Integrity

We hold ourselves and our work to a high standard. We make things that we would enjoy having and using, and we're as careful with each piece as we would be if we were making it for our own family.

Good work done well

Three Trees Workshop was born out of a desire to create beautiful, useful things. We find enjoyment and satisfaction in the work we do–in the final products, but also in the process. We love how cutting, sanding, and finishing allows the unique character of each piece of wood to emerge. We’re excited to share that process, and the results, with our greater community.

Connection

We appreciate the connectedness of people who belong to each other through ties of family, friendship, and community. We hope that our work will help strengthen those connections, from toys and games that encourage creative interaction to items for the home that inspire hospitality and conversation. And the way we see it, anyone who ends up with something we've made is a part of our community.

This is the best Chinese checkers set we have ever seen. The board is beautifully made and the family really enjoys playing. Being able to pull kids away from the screens to enjoy actual family interaction is terrific. The set is worth every penny and more! We’re planning on many, many years of enjoyment.
— Moses R.

 

Environmental sustainability

We seek to have a friendly footprint on our world. We source local woods, using mostly wood from two small sawmills within 50 miles of our shop. We also use non-toxic finishes that are better for the environment and for the person doing the finishing, yet still give a high quality, durable, and beautiful finish (read more here). Our packaging materials are reused, including leftover blank newsprint from our local newspaper and materials from shipments we've received. We use recycled boxes for shipping, and we encourage you to reuse or recycle all packaging.

We also just enjoy using wood for our products because it's a time-honored material with a satisfying feel and beautiful depth that you just don’t get from synthetic materials. And, of course, it’s natural and biodegradable. Instead of the tree decaying in the forest, we side-track it for a little while so it can be enjoyed and appreciated in another form before returning to the earth. And by "for a little while," we mean for generations.


The quality and craftsmanship of this chess and checkerboard is exactly what I was looking for. I know it will be enjoyed for many years!
— Shelley A.

Nathan Epp

I've been a woodworker since I was a kid, learning from my dad and grandpas in their shops, and I've always enjoyed working with my hands and making things. I've also done a variety of other things over the years. After getting a BS degree in mechanical engineering technology, I've worked in the aerospace industry as a manufacturing and quality engineer, volunteered with the Peace Corps in Uganda, worked on conservation efforts in Missouri forests and in disaster response throughout the country, and helped develop a new kind of wastewater treatment facility in Kenya. I’m excited to be pouring my energy full time into doing something that I love--making beautiful, satisfying, and functional pieces that enrich the lives of those who use them.

Cynthia Epp

I grew up climbing trees, riding bikes, reading books, and traipsing through the Missouri woods. We didn't watch much TV (thanks, parents!) and there was no internet, so we explored our world and made our own fun. I've since continued to explore. I have a master's degree in public health and have worked in local public health, taught at the university level, trained teachers in Uganda, and collaborated with community organizations in Kenya. I'm thrilled to now be making things that inspire kids and adults to play creatively and interact with each other and the world around them. I love working in the shop and keeping lists and spreadsheets. And I’m the one you'll get when you call or email. I look forward to hearing from you!


Special thanks to Tim and Mel at Paperback for helping us tell our story through our logo, website design, and much, much more!

Photo credits: Brandon Bowman and Alex Li