History of Zen Carpentry
Sander Hicks is the grandson of a New York union carpenter, and was raised around tools. He has been in NYC since 1991 and graduated from Lang College, New School.
He has worked as a writer, indie publisher, and café builder/owner. He started making loft beds in his own apartments around Manhattan and Bushwick.
As a carpenter, Hicks has tried to blend an environmental consciousness with a wood-working operation. He has sourced a lot of material from Build It Green, NYC, the salvage yard for interesting reclaimed materials.
Hicks started sourcing unique local hardwoods from Jeff Olsen, sometime around 2008, bringing high-end hardwoods that are locally sourced into the operation. Jeff is a mobile wood sawyer, with a 22” diameter band-saw. He cuts logs from trees that fell naturally, in Upstate NY and New England. He is a small scale operation outside the logging industry. He is an important source of walnut, cedar, sassafras, catalpa, cherry, and chestnut oak hardwoods.
Hicks had been using the business name “Vera Verde” until he had a kind of “eureka” experience doing Zen Meditation in the Catskill Mountains. Influenced by Zen, Hicks wrote the “Work Principles of Zen Carpentry” and began to do projects with just a bit more mindfulness.
In 2012, Hicks got general liability insurance, and took his first stab at professional legitimacy. In 2013, Hicks incorporated as Capital Cooperative Corporation, and got a Contractor’s License from the City of New York. Capital Cooperative has workman’s comp insurance from NY State Insurance Fund. In 2014, Zen Carpentry/Capital Cooperative took out a lease on a 500 square foot wood-working studio in Bushwick/Queens/Maspeth. And in it, they built a loft.