John the Custom Woodworker

John posing next to the wood lade in his workshop in front of a wall of other tools.

John Siradas has his own custom woodworking business where he creates one-of-a-kind items.

As a custom craftsman, John makes and sells products such as pens, bottle stoppers, pepper mills, ice cream scoops, bowls and lamps. These items can take anywhere from an hour to a whole day to create.

“His pieces are phenomenal and unique,” says Leigh Colangelo, a Care Coordination Supervisor at Person Centered Services.  “I’m extremely impressed by John’s talent, skill and creativeness.”

John has his own woodshop in his basement complete with all types of machinery and materials, including a wood lathe, which is used to turn wood from square blocks to bowls and other rounded shapes.

John first took an interest in woodworking after spending time at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware with Dave Hauck. Dave coordinated with Rockler’s so that John could come into the woodshop a few times a week just to see if he liked it.

“I really liked it,” John said. “Now my buddy [Dave] just comes over and helps me, and it’s turned into its own little business.”

Dave works as John’s self-directed assistant. In that role, Dave teaches John about the trade of woodworking and helps him with managing his business. John, Dave, John’s other supports and his Care Coordinator meet regularly to check on how things are going to ensure John’s life and business goals are being met.

Depending on John’s schedule, Dave and John get together in the workshop at least once a week.

“He really helps me a lot with woodworking,” John said about Dave.

Dave is very committed and motivated to see John succeed. Dave helps John learn new skills, purchase materials, and teaches him proper safety measures when using powerful machinery.

The two have also grown as friends over the years.

“We’ve developed a friendship,” Dave says. “It’s more than just working together. I hope to keep [working with John] until I can’t do it anymore.”

John has always been an entrepreneur, owning a variety of different businesses throughout his life.

“I started with small gumball machines originally. Then I got into bigger vending machines,” John said. “But then I got into woodworking and I just liked it, so I started doing a business.”

Today in addition to his custom woodworking, John owns several small gumball vending machines which you can find in businesses around the Buffalo area, including the Village Greek in Lancaster, which his mom owns, Hot Dog Heaven, Mythos restaurant, and People Inc.’s The Arts Experience. You can also find John’s handmade wood products, like pens and peppermills, for sale at his mother’s market.