I'm Chappell Hollingshead, founder, owner and artisan of Chap's Choppin' Tops. I began Chap's Choppin' Tops during my junior year at Texas A&M with a couple slabs of mesquite, a mallet and some chisels. My grandpa taught me everything I know about wood-working and is the reason I fell in love with the art.
I 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 and hand-crafted to accentuate its 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. My 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 a barbecue pit, my customized tops are perfect for any occasion.
All mesquite wood is sourced from the Texas Hill Country and South Texas. When choosing mesquite wood to harvest and repurpose, I 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.
I scout, plan and cut down homegrown mesquite trees on Prairie Mountain Ranch. The trees are hauled to Redemption Mill to be slabbed out into a variety of different 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 in order to pick your preferred top. We cut the piece to fit and put your board in the barbeque pit at 250 degrees in order to kiln dry. After the barbeque pit, the boards go to a contractor who works magic with a sander and take off the bark and excess unwanted wood. He passes the board to me and I begin the hand chiseling and customizations. The board is sanded again with a fine grit sandpaper and then taken inside to finish. I heat up a linseed oil mixture 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!
Every board is designed specially for each customer, with hand chiseled engravings, custom handles and any desirable alteration to the wood. I strive to bring out the beauty of the grain and natural patterns in the wood, producing a non-replicable design. Your Choppin' Top is your story, your style and your design; I simply bridge the relationship of lifestyle and story.
The custom hand chiseling is exceptionally unique to every board. From hand chiseled juice rings to any engraving the customer desires, I do my best to deliver the best looking brand while blending into the wood backdrop.
The 200 year old Long Leaf Yellow Pine is originally from the Joske's department store in downtown San Antonio in 1867. Most of the wood functioned as floorboards in the building and are now transformed into beautiful cutting boards fit by the old tongue and groove cut 153 years ago. I acquired the wood from a home restoration in the Hill Country and began cutting the planks to appropriate sizes and adjoining them together. The beauty and history behind this pine is incredible. The pine trees have recently been categorized as endangered and protected by the U.S. The dwindling supply and high demand for the wood all over the country makes for an iconic choice in material when choosing your cutting board.