Lowe's Open House Newsroom

The construction “go to” guy

When Dennis Winckler was asked about his favorite kind of wood, his answer was simple.

“Free.”

In truth, Winckler loves all varieties – he’s never seen an “ugly” piece of wood. And there’s few who know wood and woodworking better than him. At a young age, he learned core building skills from his father and then spent years working for contractors, building homes and learning about everything from plumbing to electrical wiring. And he isn’t slowing down anytime soon. His latest project? A cabin he built by hand by himself.

Family was the inspiration behind Winckler’s vision.

“All of my brothers are much older than me. I wanted to create an opportunity for us to spend some more time together. A cabin gives a person their own private space and it helps them just to relax.”

Friends and neighbors allowed him to harvest logs from the ample property surrounding his home in Greeneville, Tennessee, but sourcing and piling the raw wood onto his old Ford flatbed was only the first step of the process. He still had to mill the wood into usable lumber.

Winckler knew he wanted to mill the boards himself rather than have them cut at a local mill. He decided to put his skills to work again and do something unconventional – using an old motorcycle, he constructed a fully functioning sawmill.

“It was a neat ordeal. I used to rebuild motorcycles and after studying pictures on the internet, I realized I had everything I needed right there. So, I started fabricating, cutting, hacking…and it really worked out well. I’ve milled thousands of board feet with it.”

Nineteen months later, Winckler is getting closer to finishing his dream. And the best part? Every week, he takes the knowledge and skills he’s amassed from this project and dozens of others like it to Lowe’s, where he helps customers complete their projects. He’s the resident “go to” guy for anything construction at Lowe’s in Newport, Tennessee. Fellow employees and customers flock to him for advice and information, and to him there’s nothing better than being able to solve a problem.

“I’m on cloud nine when that happens. I love helping customers achieve their dreams. I thrive off that.”

Winckler is just one of the many knowledgeable and talented people who work at Lowe’s. Read about another employee – Lester Poole – who knows his way around a greenhouse.