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Omaha Magazine

This Fire Will Never Burn Out

Sep 22, 2023 11:22AM ● By Jeff Lacey
maker october 2023 LJM Customs

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Omahan Aaron Mosby has taken his talent and love for woodworking and crafted it into a living. He launched his company, LJM Customs, in 2021, but the seed was planted six years earlier, when he first began tinkering in his garage. 

Previously, Mosby spent several years in the tech field, working on digital sales teams in the construction and restaurant industries, among other things. After a while, however, selling digital advertising was no longer personally satisfying. “I just wasn’t as happy as I once was going into the office,” Mosby explained.

Woodworking was always in the background. At first, Mosby made simple things like coasters and shelves, and even those small pieces gave him intense satisfaction. Slowly, the hobby took over space in his garage, and eventually, his life. He began studying the art form and learning from experts. Finally, (with his family’s support) he made the leap to pursuing his great joy full time. “I finally had to say, ‘Let’s just try to do this.’ This is what I enjoy doing more; this is what I am good at.” 

Mosby’s launch into this new, professional endeavor was more successful than he could have ever imagined. “The next thing you know, I had 20 orders,” he said.

LJM Customs (the name bears the initials of his 3-year-old daughter, Layla James) offers a variety of standard to high-end furniture and wood products—everything from kitchen cabinetry to accent walls to countertops and accent tables. Mosby specializes in live-edge (also known as natural edge) furniture, which gives each piece unique character and rustic charm. Finished pieces, such as his handcrafted coffee tables, aren’t just decorative either; Mosby’s painstaking processes result in functional art for the home. Even the cutting boards are heirloom quality. 

Having outgrown his garage workshop, LJM Customs is now housed in the Quartermaster Depot, a complex of brick buildings at 21st and Woolworth streets in Omaha that the military originally built for the US Army during the late nineteenth century. Nestled in the shade of old cottonwoods, the high-ceilinged shop is where Mosby does all his work on hand-selected slabs of walnut, oak, and other woods he procures from local mills.

Mosby describes his style as “very custom,” saying, “Most clients love a modern style, with a natural wood element. [When designing], I will get photos of four different things, and from those I will try to make something totally unique, something they can’t find online. I design from scratch, with lots of input from the client.  I try to make it very collaborative.” 

Customers rave about Mosby’s creations. Jared Benak, who commissioned a dining room table from LJM Customs, said the finished piece “is the first thing anyone notices when they walk in” his home.

“He also had the brilliant idea of building a bench to match the live-edge table, and it really ties the entire [look] together,” Benak added. 

On average, Mosby devotes about a week to each project; however, some take as many as three. He spends those hours shaping, sanding, filling, clear coating, and finally installing the appropriate hardware. 

Mosby has two goals for each custom piece: “First, being able to get that customer to the point where they like it so much, they can’t stop talking about it. Then, I just have high standards for myself. My second rule is, if I wouldn’t want it in my own house, it doesn’t work.”

The artisan shared he especially enjoys the personal freedom his new profession offers, even if he is sometimes in the shop as late as 11 pm. “I put in a lot of hours, but it doesn’t really feel like working. I don’t feel like I’m going into a job, and I don’t feel like this fire will ever burn out.” 

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This article originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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