Retired firefighter turns old trees into new treasures

For eight years, Nick Reale has been turning wood into objects like spindles, table legs and bowls. He also creates furniture like coffee tables, chairs and stools. 

Nick Reale Woodturning is located in old southeast St. Petersburg. He say he’s unique in that he only uses wood from Pinellas County. 

He says the area has many types of trees, both soft and hard, that are great for woodworking: camphor, blackthorn, and rosewood trees to name a few. 

"I don’t really have a preference. What really gives it a lot of weight to me is the story behind the wood," explained Nick. 

"People will come to me with a piece of their tree that their kids were climbing in. It had to come down and they ask me to make something," he continued. "Now they share it with their children and it’s not gone."

Nick started woodturning after retiring from the Pinellas Park Fire Department. He says his first project was a birdhouse that his wife asked him to make. 

"I kind of liked it, so I built another one." 

Things kept rolling from there and now he has his own studio at 1499 Beach Drive SE. 

LINK: To contact Nick about custom work or see more examples of his work, go to his website: