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November 02, 2015

Job Creation › media ›

July 16, 2015

Job Creation › media › TC ›

Lamon Luther featured on Small Town Big Deal

In the fall of 2014, the amazing crew from Small Town, Big Deal shared our story with the world. 


July 16, 2015

Lamon Luther Wins Icon Award

We had the incredible honor to receive the ICON AWARD for community development presented by Americas Mart.  

Lamon Luther Icon Bumper from Lamon Luther on Vimeo.


Here are a few shots from the night.  Our founder, Brian Preston accepted the award.  If you're interested in the press release you can find it here.


July 16, 2015

Custom Showcase - LadyBird

Last year we had the honor of working with David from Brick + Mortar and entrepreneur Michael Lennox of the hippest beer garden on the Atlanta Beltline.  We build and designed 11 beer garden tables, 44 benches and 2 large 10' long community tables.  We love the overall look and design of the space. 

July 08, 2015

Your Instapics on our Front Page

We love our customers.  We also love it when we get to see our products in our customer's finished space.  So we wanted to create a simple solution for all our customers to share their pics on our website.  We are excited to announce that when you tag "lamonluther on Instagram, your Instapics end up on the front page of our website. 

July 07, 2015

Lamon Luther + The Lee Bros

A few months ago, The Lee Bros visited Atlanta.  During their time Matt and Ted swung by the shop to help us build the last Krog Street Market table.  They showed up with a production company, and filmed the first episode of their brand new show "Southern Uncovered."  

Matt, Ted, and the entire production crew were great to work with.  Unfortunately, they haven't released the full episode online but here is a sneak peek at Krog with our Brian Preston



July 07, 2015

Job Creation › TC › West Elm ›

West Elm + Lamon Luther Video

When West Elm asked if they could do a story on our company we didn't have to think about it long.

The production company Minder did a fantastic job sharing our story.  They spent 2 separate days filming, and below is the final out come.  We are thankful for our partnership with West Elm in helping us with our mission of creating more jobs for those in need.  

February 01, 2015

Custom Work › How To › Pallet Wall ›

How to Install a Pallet Wood Wall

Installing pallet wood on a focal wall can add a nice design feature to your space.  This is a wall we installed in just a few hours and anyone with basic tools can do this to their own space.  

Tools Needed:

-Hammer, Nail Punch, Nail Gun, Sawzall, Miter Saw, Construction Adhesive, Air Compressor, Level, and A Table Saw

1. Find Free + Dry Pallets - Look for pallets that have been stored in a dry warehouse.  A great resource is craigslist, or industrial area where many warehouses are located.

2. Cut The Pallets Down - We made a video that describes the best method for this.  We also recommend lightly sanding the boards before installation. 

3. Remove The Nails - After you have cut down the pallets, you will want to remove the nails with a nail set.  Simply turn over the board and knock the nail out with the nail set.  Flip the board back over and pull the nails out.  

4. Rip all the Boards to the same width on a table saw.  We usually set up the table saw fence at 3".  Then flip over and rip to 2 3/4" wide.  This way you will have 2 ripped edges and this will make your installation a breeze. 

5. Remove any base board and mark your studs.  You can do this with a stud finder, or using a small nail to tap in the wall.  Most studs are 16" on center, so once you find a stud you can measure over 16" to locate the next one.  Always double check with a stud finder of small nail. 

6. Start with the first board at the bottom of the wall (where the baseboard was located).  Be sure to glue the back of the material with construction adhesive.  

7. Nail the first run of boards in with a nail gun.  We usually us 2" nails and be sure you hit the studs.

8. Continue with the next run.  Put a level on each run and adjust accordingly.  Make sure your joints off set. (think brick laying).  You don't want the joints to line up on the wall.  

9. Keep going all the way up the wall. Once you get to the top, measure the top board and rip your last board to fit on the table saw. 

10. Take a step back and enjoy.  Your friends will be jealous. 

February 01, 2015

BUILDHOPE › Southern Living ›

50 People Changing the South in 2015

Excited to announce that our founder, Brian Preston was named to 50 people changing the south in 2015 by Southern Living.  

You can read the article here.


January 26, 2015

ATL Bench Works

Can you tell us little bit about your story/background?
Several years ago I read one of Bob Lupton's books - Theirs is the Kingdom. It challenged me to look at poverty in a different way. I started to read and learn more about helping the poor & loving my neighbors. I learned that giving people dignity by giving them work, rather than handouts, was a better way to help people. Over the years I started my own online business & became very interested in starting businesses & I learned this was possibly a way I could help people. About 1 year ago I loved to "The Bluff" and I was being overwhelmed with guys coming by daily asking for food & money. So I started to give them odd jobs: washing my car, sweeping the porch, watering plants, etc. But there's only so many times you can water the plants before they start drowning. Around this time one of the guys built us a bench for our garden, and it looked pretty cool. And I knew that Brian had started Lamon Luther making furniture with homeless guys. So I thought maybe I could make & sell benches. And I've been trying to do it since then.
Oops, I didn't really answer the question. I'm a computer science major from UC Berkeley. I grew up in California, moved to Georgia back in '07 to work for a leadership company: Catalyst. Then launched my own business selling calendars online (NeuYear.net), which gives me a lot of free time. So now I live in the hood & I'm trying to learn to love my neighbors and help them on their feet.
What inspired you to start ATL Bench Works?
I was inspired seeing Brian build awesome rustic furniture with homeless guys. I was also inspired by reading Bob Lupton's "Compassion, Justice & the Christian Life" which started me thinking, "what business can I do that could employ low skilled labor, yet be sustainable." When a friend and I walked by our garden in the back, she said "oh, cool bench! I want one!" and right then it clicked. I realized I might have a product worth selling.
Why do you use pallets/recycled wood?
We use pallets because they are very accessible. Our neighborhood is kind of a dumping ground for stuff. There are lots of tires & random furniture that gets dumped on various corners. There are pallets too, in various places. Since my goal was to bring money to the community, I figured it was better to pay my neighbors to round-up free pallet wood, than to buy the wood from somewhere outside the neighborhood. And it was easier to test the idea with pallets. And it's fun to take something that is essentially trash & turn it into something useful & even beautiful - it's so efficient, I love efficiency. And also, pallets tend to have a weathered and worn look, which is so hot right now, it's like the rustic-ness is built in. They're perfect!
Can you think of one great story that illustrates the unique strength and impact that building these benches has?
One of my neighbors - "Cali" - lives on the front porch of an abandoned house. He scrapes by on unemployment. He saw me building benches and he saw his friends coming to my house to work. It inspired him to pursue one of his own dreams. He's always wanted to have a coffee shop. And he had an idea to sell coffee & donuts on the side of the road to commuters on their way to work. So he bought some coffee beans and found a table and a coffee maker, and made a cardboard sign & started his own business. I think showing people that they can do stuff has been a big part of what I'm doing. Sometimes people just need a good example, or a bit of inspiration to get off the couch & try it. Unfortunately, he gave-up after a couple weeks. I wish he would've stuck with it.
Have you felt like sense starting this business that it has given these guys and the surrounding neighbors a sense of community? 
Possibly. The two main guys that I have working for me seem to have become good friends. I don't remember if Gangsta (the builder) knew Malachi (the stainer) well before they started working for me. Unfortunately, I used to hire more than just them, but they pushed me to hire only them, so I haven't gotten too many others involved with this work. There's a strong sense of competition with the other homeless guys around because they all want work and sometimes feel that Gangsta & Malachi are selfish to want all this work to themselves & there's a bit of jealousy and people trying to jump-in when Malachi or Gangsta don't show up. So it's kinda messy, it's not cut & dried. Perhaps if I had a shop that was more secluded - but we work in the backyard and it's open and people I don't know sometimes come up and ask for work, which I usually can't afford to give. 
So, I would like to say "yes" but I don't know for sure. The surrounding neighbors aren't involved, unfortunately because we have so few neighbors. Half the houses on our block & the neighboring blocks are burned down or abandoned. But, I think people appreciate what we're doing. We've put benches at a few bus stops, which people appreciate and elsewhere we've put them around. One guy even sleeps on one of the benches. Sooooo, we're doing something, I guess. But no community around this yet. Well, definitely building my relationships with Gangsta & Malachi. Without the bench business I wouldn't really know them. And I've met several other guys through this business. William brings me pallets. A couple months into our relationship, I helped him build a website. Then there's another guy, James. He brings me pallets sometimes. Terry helped me a bit, but now he just fills-in when Gangsta's not around. We've done other stuff together. I'm helping him sell a dog on Craigslist. 
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