One Good Turn

CDR Clay “Boca” Hartman had his first big crush on woodworking at the age of 10 when his craftsman grandfather invited him into his workshop.  Together they built a battleship.  

That epiphanal moment launched a woodcraft romance, which blossomed into a construction business later in life.  But between graduation from Cornell in civil engineering and his current solar construction management company, he served 25 years in the Navy as a carrier pilot.  He married the love of his life who keeps him straight. He dubbed her The Admiral.

Clay is one of those lucky people who has highly developed left and right brains.  He can paint a landscape and calculate details all in the same brushstroke.  He welcomes his engineer brain, his practical side, which often takes charge.  It tells his artistic side, “That idea may be cool, but it’s completely impossible.”  While left and right occasionally duke it out, they eventually strike a balance and the results are exquisite.

On top of being a father, husband, and running his solar CM company, he is building his forever home near Sunset Rock.  Clearly, he’s the kind of guy who thrives on being busy.

But a couple of years ago he found himself with unclaimed hours here and there. So, The Admiral bought him a small lathe to experiment with.

“Turning came as a very natural process to me,” he says. “As the lathe peeled back layers of wood, I was fascinated to see what surprises Mother Nature had in store.”

He liked it so much he bought a bigger lathe.

Clay has access to fallen and cleared trees from construction projects and his own home site.  He likes turning cast-offs into works of art.  Look out!  He might swipe something from your burn pile!

See Clay’s turned vessels at White Harvest Living, 537 Main Street, Highlands.  In honor of his military pals, he donates 10 percent of sales to K9s for Warriors.  That brings him full circle to what started it all: the battleship he and his grandfather built decades ago.  Contact Clay at