Napa Valley Life Magazine

Napa Valley Life Magazine

Intriguing Woodworker – Eugene Justus

Eugene-3Eugene Justus retired from the world of global finance, but he’s always been a lifelong woodworker.  Born and raised on a Michigan farm, woodworking wasn’t a hobby, but an integral part of farm life – to be self-reliant.  His International banking career took Eugene around the world where he said he always marveled at seeing buildings and furniture from handcrafted wood workmanship.  That inspired him to continue to build wood furniture in his garage.

Today, Eugene customizes “The Old Silverado Trail” California walnut tables for homes and wineries.  His precision eye and artistic handiwork, makes his one of a kind tables, a statement piece.  His tables are an intriguing touch to any room, but there is something else that makes Eugene truly amazing.

In 1999, Eugene traveled to Baltimore to obtain some original wood planking from the decommissioned U.S. Frigate Constellation, the first warship to be commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1797.  Today, the U.S.S. Constellation is moored in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and is visited by thousands each year.  Eugene obtained a copy of the original ship’s blue prints and was able to scale down the plans to recreate an exact replica of the constellation down to every detail. His project that took 13-years, was completed in 2004.  He handcrafted every piece and actually used the planking from the original ship in his model replica.   It’s the only model of its kind.  Historians and museums have asked Eugene for his model, but he said he plans to give his version of the U.S.S. Constellation to his son in his estate.

Article originally published in Napa Valley Magazine December 2016 (