LumberJocks

The wooden comb business has been keeping me busy.

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Project by BTimmons posted 01-15-2015 10:04 PM 3277 views 26 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t posted any projects for quite a while, but don’t let that lead you to believe I haven’t been busy! Between my Etsy store, my .com site, local festivals, and large wholesale orders from a handful of select retailers, I’ve probably made about a thousand of these things by now. Not even joking.

The Christmas season really took me by surprise. I honestly wasn’t prepared for the amount of demand. A couple of days before Thanksgiving, it’s like the Small Business Fairies flipped a switch, and boom. Everyone wanted one. The orders kept rolling in, and it got to a point when the “cha-ching” sound from the Etsy app on my phone made me groan rather than smile. Things have calmed down a lot since, although it’s far from dead. The local festivals have really been fun, especially the first beard and mustache competition I went to as a vendor. You meet some interesting folks at an event like that. It was at a brewery, and free beer was involved. Not gonna turn that down. Liquid social lubricant makes me a better salesman than my usual stoic, introverted self.

From the beginning, I’ve been meaning to use the comb thing as a means to an end, to work up to custom furniture. Thankfully, with the holidays behind me I have more time to branch out into other things. But it has allowed me to upgrade several items in my shop, as well as make several lifestyle upgrades. Can’t complain.

When I started doing this back in May of 2014, less than half a year ago, I had no idea just how much this thing would take on a life of its own. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish a fraction of what I have if it weren’t for my wife. She’s been my office manager, website designer, shipping department, marketing manager, accountant, salesperson, wood buyer, and motivator in chief.

I’m a lucky guy. Now I just need more recent pictures and video of myself on my site now that I’ve grown a beard. If you’ve read this far, thanks. Have a cookie.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com





22 comments so far

View kdc68's profile

kdc68

2526 posts in 1744 days


#1 posted 01-16-2015 12:06 AM

Congrats to you on your business success…..

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

4881 posts in 2134 days


#2 posted 01-16-2015 12:30 AM

Great to see your business doing well and I am not surprised with the nice products you are offering .
You proved handmade and qualety is still in demand .

Klaus

-- Kiefer https://www.youtube.com/user/woodkiefer1/videos

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

5257 posts in 3349 days


#3 posted 01-16-2015 12:35 AM

That’s great. What a wonderful little business.

I have made about a dozen of them and given them away. They are a wonderful joy to hold.

Your examples above look fantastic.
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

3140 posts in 1336 days


#4 posted 01-16-2015 12:55 AM

I remember reading about you starting up. I’ve visited your etsy store, and see you’ve got a bunch up for sale. I’m very happy to hear you’re enjoying a measure of success. The combs really are awesome, fill a niche, and are selling. A great idea at the right time. Keep it going!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2375 posts in 1658 days


#5 posted 01-16-2015 01:05 AM

Great that your business venture is really taking off, as an entrepreneur, you’ll find the work never ends. Be very grateful for your wife’s help, it would be tough going without her.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2576 days


#6 posted 01-16-2015 04:54 AM

Congratulations on getting a product out there that is salable in mass quantities! Time to hire some employees, or figure out a mass production method.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View scoobydooo9r's profile

scoobydooo9r

187 posts in 3243 days


#7 posted 01-16-2015 07:31 AM

That’s awesome Brian, I’m so excited for you! Sounds like you and your wife make quite the team. How’d you manage to outsource all the hard stuff? I have got to learn that secret!

Keep the updates coming, it’s great to follow your success. If I’ve learned one thing over the last couple years, don’t discount even the smallest idea or talent. Glad you didn’t!

-- I don't make mistakes, I make design challenges!

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2801 days


#8 posted 01-16-2015 09:34 AM

Congrats on your success Brian. Being retired, I have never really wanted to try making money with woodworking as I knew it would quickly go from joy to drudgery making multiples of the same thing over and over. It is different for someone like you who is young and wants to work wood professionally, but it is still work after all. I’m not surprised that the combs have sold so well as they are wonderful to use since they don’t create static electricity and they look great too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Brodan's profile

Brodan

134 posts in 769 days


#9 posted 01-16-2015 01:05 PM

Brian, congrats on all fronts. I’ve not seen wooden combs before (sheltered I guess) but yours look fantastic!

-- Dan, TN

View JayT's profile

JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#10 posted 01-16-2015 01:33 PM

Glad things are going well, Brian. You’ve earned it with the quality of your work.

I probably caused a groan or two—had a person in the office mention something about wanting a wooden comb in December and I didn’t hesitate to send her to your Etsy store. :-)

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View TheJBitt's profile

TheJBitt

34 posts in 1425 days


#11 posted 01-16-2015 02:23 PM

Congratualtions!

Have you been doing to comb business full time? Or were you able to start it on the side?

-- I make great sawdust. -Jon in Warsaw, IN

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2300 posts in 1952 days


#12 posted 01-16-2015 02:34 PM

Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement!

Zac - Honestly, it didn’t take any convincing on my part. My wife is by far the more organized between the two of us, and in a sick kind of way she actually enjoys that kind of work. I don’t understand, I think she’s a bit of a masochist taking on the hard stuff like she has. I just know that I wouldn’t have had nearly as good of an experience if it weren’t for her greasing the gears behind the scenes. Hell, she had to make the gears first, proverbially speaking.

Mike – There is an element of drudgery involved, especially with the large wholesale orders. But by the same token, having done it so many times make it pretty easy and automatic. What does help is seeing the more high end combs come to life once they’re fresh off the buffing wheels. How can I see beautiful pieces of cocobolo and bocote like this, and not have my heart beat a little faster? The more beautiful exotics are a treasure trove of color and figure, and each one is a miniature adventure unto itself.

I’ve had to develop a lot of discipline along the way, to fight through boredom, sore muscles, and an unheated garage. But it’s toughened me up as well as building confidence, and a name for myself. I can imagine how gratifying retirement would be, but that’s pretty far off from where I am in life. For right now, this is what will allow me to work up towards bigger and better things.

Jay - Thanks for the referral! Word of mouth is the best advertising one can hope for.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View KDO's profile

KDO

145 posts in 2236 days


#13 posted 01-16-2015 02:51 PM

Nice work. I hope that it stays something that you enjoy AND can make some money at.

I do have a question.
I can see the process in my mind, but How do you sand between the teeth, without it taking up so much time?

-- Christian, Husband, Grandpa, Salesman, amateur Woodworker.

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2300 posts in 1952 days


#14 posted 01-16-2015 03:00 PM

KDO - These things work wonders. After using them for a few minutes the sandpaper “fingers” spread out to look more like the image below, and they do all the hard work of getting in between and around irregular shapes, like teeth on combs. Trying to sand these by hand would’ve landed me in the loony bin a long time ago.

Click for details

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View Lumberpunk's profile

Lumberpunk

323 posts in 1804 days


#15 posted 01-16-2015 03:14 PM

Congrats!

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

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