Wade Heyl is the owner of Elite Tiny Homes and Wasted Time Custom Woodwork and creates everything you see on this site primarily by himself. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Wade has lived in South Louisiana all of his life. After graduating from Tulane with an MBA degree, he moved to Morgan City to begin a career as a financial analyst in the oil and gas industry. In 2015, after completing the Manstrocity, he decided to take his passion for woodworking and building and turn it into a career. Wade now works closely with his clients to build tiny homes that are completely customized to their wants and needs. When he’s not working on his latest tiny home, he is creating one-of-a-kind furniture pieces from reclaimed cypress and sinker cypress. Wade is married with two children and currently lives in Houma, Louisiana.
Artist / Builder Bio
Most of my career I had been an accountant in the Oil and Gas industry, but a few years ago I found a passion and apparent talent for woodworking. It mostly began after the passing of my dad at age 56 from lung cancer. He worked his whole life as a plumber and used to tell me as a child to “use your head for a living, and not your back”. He stressed this to me, and I took it to heart. I graduated from UNO in 2001 and went back to get an MBA from Tulane, graduating in 2006. I then worked in finance from graduation until 2016, when I left my finance career to pursue my passion full-time.
After my dad passed in 2012, I began a project I had been contemplating for some time. I wanted to build a bar area in my backyard. One of my dad’s many talents was woodworking. I thought it would be a growing experience for me to try my hand at this challenging project. I spent about 350 hours over the course of 6 months in late 2012-early 2013 working on the project. In the hours of sanding, cutting, chiseling, staining, and varnishing, I found much-needed solace and peace in my heart. I felt close to my father in those hours and often “talked” to him during the process (I still do), and I always knew what he was telling me in reply. Unexpectedly, I discovered that I had some degree of talent in technical skills, but I was very surprised at how well my visions came out from a creative perspective.
After the completion of the bar, I began rebuilding my dad’s camp/home which was destroyed by Hurricane Isaac. Once the camp was completed, I turned my attention to a project I had vaguely conceived of while building the bar. The idea essentially involved building a “man-cave” style tiny home. This first trailer was completed in January 2015 and the results were more than I expected. My skill level and creative ideas improved drastically in those first few years. I now had a passion for what I was doing and an appetite to improve and realize my full potential. I enjoyed the challenge of the technical aspects of building livable structures, but I loved the creative side of the work.
This is where my business model began to diverge into 2 paths. The technical side was the start of my tiny home business. The creative side was the beginning of my furniture and art business. There is a lot of overlap though between the two. My tiny homes need to have a focus on technical details, but creativity is still a high priority, and my artwork requires a lot of knowledge and skill in function and structure.
My first pieces of furniture used epoxy simply as a finish. As I progressed, I began using epoxy to fill voids and eventually moved to molded forms. My first molded forms used solid paint pigment in the epoxy or clear with no pigments.
This period of my growth trained me on how to pour deep and clear with few bubbles. This takes quite a bit of experience with the type of epoxy I use. Many newer epoxies allow you to pour 2” or more at a time, however it takes up to 24 hours to harden. The epoxy I use typically hardens in 30-45 minutes for each pour, but the drawback is that you can only pour about a quarter of an inch at a time. Therefore, to pour a 2” thick pieces typically require me to do about 8 pours. This period of learning quantities/volume, temperature variations, timing, and other factors provided the foundation for the next evolution in my work.
I finally ventured into the area of metallic pigmentation, tints, and inks. I hesitated to adventure into this area for quite a while because it was daunting. There are dozens of different brands and literally thousands of different colors and options to choose from. But once I started, I was hooked. The limitless possible combinations went from being daunting to being exhilarating. I started buying pigments a few at a time and eventually had hundreds at my disposal. This is where my learning to use the more difficult and time-consuming epoxy began to really pay off.
When using the “deep pour” epoxy you cannot really manipulate the final look outside of color choice. The level of involvement with deep pour basically ends with the pouring. After pouring you are reliant on the natural movement of the epoxy and pigment to create the final look.
The epoxy I use forces me to pour it into many layers, but it also allows me to create each of those layers exactly how I want them to look. I can choose how much I mix my colors together and exactly how they are arranged in the piece. I can manipulate them in various ways to create the effect I am looking for. This is not possible with the deep-pour epoxy that is most popular in this medium. The layered method is much more time-consuming and involved but I believe the results make the extra time worth it.
Over the past 5 years of doing molded epoxy pours I have spent thousands of hours and over 400 gallons of epoxy refining my art form. I have gone through over a dozen “phases” where my style and techniques progressed. I am constantly evolving and pushing my boundaries. I am never satisfied with my skills as I keep moving forward. This work is something I love doing and I put my heart into each piece. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I enjoyed creating them.