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Chaps Choppin’ Tops

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Chaps Choppin’ Tops
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Description:

Chappell Hollingshead is the founder, owner, and artisan of Chap's Choppin' Tops. She began Chap's Choppin' Tops at Texas A&M University with a couple slabs of mesquite, a mallet, and some chisels. Her grandfather taught her everything she knows about woodworking, and he is the reason she fell in love with the craft. Chappell began making cutting boards because she loved the skill of hand chiseling, she was enamored with creating products with her own hands and she had a passion for entrepreneurship. She would like to thank her grandpa, Tom Egbert, for passing along his spirit for craftsmanship. She owes a 'thank you' to her family for being her right-hand men during the busy season and supportive year-round. Lastly, to her A&M entrepreneurship professors for instilling their faith in the company.

 

Purpose

We aim to add rustic character, luxury, and functionality to your kitchen with custom charcuterie and cutting boards. Each top is made from hand-selected slabs of beautiful mesquite. The boards are hand-crafted to accentuate the stunning natural grains, lines and patterns. Your personal Top can be fully customized to your tastes and needs for entertaining, the everyday kitchen, grill, and outdoor living. The charcuterie boards and Choppin’ Tops evoke warmth and authenticity and bring excitement to hosting. From natural, elegant charcuterie boards designed for wine and cheese nights to hardy, durable chopping blocks made to accompany the barbecue pit, Chap's Choppin' Tops are perfect for any occasion.

 

Our History

Chap's Choppin' Tops began with a purpose of carrying on a craft from Chappell's grandpa, Big Papa. He had been a dentist for decades, constantly working with his hands and he was the epitome of a Jack of all Trades. He can make fine jewelry, beautiful mesquite furniture and anything with intricate precision. In 2019, Chappell was a Junior at Texas A&M when she asked her grandpa to teach her how to chisel. They began working on a scrap slab of mesquite that was propped up on a fish cleaning station in Port Aransas, Tx. She had moved down to the coast for the summer with the intent to work, fish and make things with her hands. It had hit July and after many failed attempts of trying her hand at leatherworking, she thought woodworking would be a better calling. Big Papa brought her four chisels and a mallet hours after she had made the call for help in his arena. They spent the entire July hammering, chiseling, and working on the propped-up slab. Once she had engraved multiple names and brands into the board, he looked at her and said she was a natural. For the next two years in school, she would travel back and forth from College Station to their family ranch in Fredericksburg, picking up wood, picking up talent and finally distributing cutting boards to friends and family. She became obsessed with the craft and soon after obsessed with entrepreneurship. She wanted to share his craft and showcase the ability to make beautiful, natural, handmade products. The venture has become an ideal way to spend time with her grandpa; working, learning, and creating something people truly enjoy.

Harvesting Wood

All mesquite wood is sourced from the Texas Hill Country and South Texas. When choosing mesquite wood to harvest and repurpose, we look for age, mistletoe, intense weathering, harsh winds, regrowth, and healing in order to revitalize the story of the tree. The more natural abuses the tree endures, the longer its story reads in your kitchen. 

The Process

We scout, plan, and cut down homegrown mesquite trees on Prairie Mountain Ranch and surrounding ranches. The majority of the logs come from clearing companies in the area. The trees are hauled to Redemption Mill to be slabbed out into a variety of widths and loaded back up to begin a drying process. The wood gets stickered to naturally dry for 4-6 months. We then take the orders online and pull from the stockpile to pick your preferred top. We cut the piece to fit and put your board in the barbeque pit at 200 degrees to kiln dry. After the barbeque pit, the boards go to a contractor who works magic with a sander and takes off the bark and excess unwanted wood. He passes the board to Chappell, and she begins the hand chiseling and customizations. The board is sanded again with a fine grit sandpaper and then taken inside to finish. We heat up a cutting board conditioner and apply the finish multiple times. Finally, we clean the boards, touch up with mineral oil, write 'thank you' notes, leave to dry, ship, and deliver!