We're the Alexander Brothers and this is our story
We grew up in a home that fostered a love for the handmade. So much so, dad insisted that craftsmen training came first in our lives. With a heritage of accomplished inventors and tradesmen, who could blame him?
Our parents took us along on frequent visits to antique stores, galleries, and other places that sold fine furnishings. Mom always reminded us at the door, “Look with your eyes, not with your hands.” For us boys, that wasn’t always easy. Learning traditional methods of artistry—blacksmithing, woodworking, and leather crafting—was never a chore for us. As teens, we didn’t just apprentice with master craftsmen, we built our own forge and workshops in the backyard. Today, we thrive on creating beauty in our lives, and the lives of others. By transforming natural, raw materials into quality home and lifestyle goods, we write stories to tell for generations to come. If you love the smell of leather, the warmth of real wood, and the heft of metal, let us help write your story, too.
Drawn to blacksmithing when seeing local blacksmith Bill Moss at a festival, Drew got his start apprenticing at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia as a teen. While pursuing blacksmithing on evenings or weekends, Drew grew professionally in the fine home building and historical home reconstruction field with local expert Jay Hafner. Hafner taught Drew to always say yes to a project even if it was new or intimidating. This approach shaped Drew’s confidence and success in taking on challenging projects. For over twenty years Drew has honed his craft through self-education, learning and leading in his local blacksmithing guild community, books, and networking with other artisan blacksmiths online. Most recently he was mentored by the late craftsman Nol Putnam. Drew began the process of buying Putnam shop in 2022. Putman’s influence on Drew’s craft continues in the tools he uses and the wisdom Putnam passed on. Drew left his full-time work in sales in 2021 to pursue artisan blacksmithing full-time. He specializes in client led projects, and prefers large pieces that allow room for artistic creativity and customization. This Benjamin Disraeli quote has hung in Drew’s shop since 2010: “One secret to success in life is to be ready for your opportunity when it comes.” Drew shared: “Every time I have had an opportunity that was pivotal, I have jumped on it. Knowing it might not come around again.” Drew lives in Rockingham County with his wife and their four children. Follow Drew’s videos or reach out about your next project, by visiting his website.
Shea’s love of woodcraft and fine woodworking began in large part due to his father introducing him to woodcarving at a young age. Woodworking and family business are key pieces to the Alexander legacy, passed down several generations, which Shea keeps alive today. Shea began selling carved roosters at local festivals at age eleven, his Nana giving him a corner of her craft booth to carve on site. The year his parents got him a belt sander for Christmas, he cleaned out the family shed and made it into a wood shop. Shea’s path has been guided by many incredible woodworkers, cabinetmakers, and artisans over the years. He joined the Wood Turners of the Virginias when he was a teen, learning from craftsmen and women with years of skill. During high school he worked with local cabinet maker Lindon Sonifrank, learning about running a cabinet shop and working with clients. His self-study began at age 15 when he found a box of Fine Wood Working magazines at the dump, and since then he has continued to seek out experts in the field to inform his style and technique. The Foxfire books, James Krenov, and Drew Langser are lasting sources of education. Shea shares that he draws inspiration from nature itself: "Trees are the longest living organism on earth. It is a privilege to allow them to live even longer. We are insignificant compared to the trees. The average board I work with comes from a tree that is four times my age. Viewing the natural resource with respect keeps me going." After two years of managing Alexander Brothers as a side business, Shea left the corporate world in 2020 to work fulltime in the woodshop. He is driven to keep Appalachian craft alive through building custom furniture and helping others discover the joy of working with their hands. Follow Shea’s personal account for more on craftsmanship, philosophy, and parenting.
Josiah began working with leather when he won a bag of leather scraps at an artisan event in his teens. The craft reminded him of his Nana, the Alexander family maternal grandmother, who had taught him to sew at a young age. Once discovering the traveler’s notebook trend, he was hooked on leather. The legacy of family craftsmanship is important to Josiah. He uses his Grandpa’s drafting tools to diagram his ideas and design templates for leather goods. He left his work as an electrician in 2021 to join the Alexander Brother’s team full time. Josiah specializes in bag design, and enjoys working with retailers to develop products based on inventory needs. His most recent leatherwork involves developing hard shell bags, which he enjoys crafting. In his freetime Josiah can be found smoking meat for his church events, caring for his bees and rabbits, or at the lake kayaking and fishing.
Karen’s passion for metal art began when she studied metal sculpture at San Francisco State University. She learned about traditional blacksmithing after college, and ran her own professional blacksmithing business in the 1990’s, focusing on interior work such as hardware, latches, and fireplace doors. In addition to decades of metal working experience, Karen’s art expands to include drawing and painting. She has also worked in administrative roles for art non-profits. Karen draws inspiration from the longevity of the smithing tradition: “I could have a tool made 200 years ago and it still works…there is a part of me that really connects with things that last.” She lives in Harrisonburg, VA where she enjoys spending time outdoors riding horses, with her dogs, or mountain biking. Alexander Brothers is glad to have Karen’s blacksmithing skill on our artisan team. Learn more about Karen Robertson.
Landon discovered woodworking when he and his wife bought their first home and found nothing fit into their small and unique space. After buying a used saw, he began building furniture. Landon graduated from Eastern Mennonite University, majoring in English Education, and worked in public education and children’s programming for several years. Most recently he does woodworking full-time, for his own custom furniture business Landon Heavener Designs, and with Alexander Brothers, where he specializes in hand cut joinery. Landon looks for balance and beauty in design inspiration and is excited to see delicate and flowing features return to furniture design in coming years. He currently has a fine furniture mentor who works alongside him in his shop, and is grateful to be part of a craft bigger than himself: “I am now tied into a centuries old tradition and my pieces will last longer than me.” Landon lives in Harrisonburg, VA and enjoys spending time with his wife and their two dogs.
Tim came across a Drew Langsner woodworking book on a shelf at technical school in the 1980’s. Wanting a hobby, he used the book to learn spoon carving and made his first spoon out of grapefruit wood. Tim remembers cutting himself, but it wasn’t bad enough to deter his growing love of wood. He was introduced to the wood lathe by his father, who picked up the skill from his father. Woodworking is truly a generational legacy in the Alexander Family, as Tim then passed this love down to his sons, the Alexander Brothers.
Tim is recently “semi-retired” and the newest addition to the Alexander Brother’s team. He finds craftsmanship therapeutic and has an enduring love for wood grain. His creative passion is for carving bowls and spoons. Tim and his wife Carol live in New Market, VA, where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and supporting their children’s many endeavors.