Unique Wood Products Dad will Love
Many consider these functional pieces created by Earl Krause of Unique Wood Products to be works of art. While some may hestiate to cut their market fresh bread or vegetables on these spectacular cutting boards, other consider it an obvious part of preparation that rounds out the cooking experience.
What kinds of products do you make?
We make a wide range of small wooden and furniture products as well as custom designs. Our line up includes wine accessories, bowls, antique style coffee grinders, serving trays and more. Our most popular item is our cutting boards, people love them because of our unique, innovative designs. You will not find Cutting boards like this in any store and many people consider them a work of art. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “Those are too nice to cut on” I would be spending January some place much warmer.
What types of wood do you use?
All of our products are made from hardwoods like Walnut, Maple and Cherry or exotic woods like Cocobolo, Purpleheart and Zebrawood. The hardwoods are great as they are not only much more durable but we believe are far more beautiful than other woods like Pine. We use the exotic woods in some of our smaller items like our bookmarks and coin catchers. The colors and grain patterns of the exotics are stunning and really eye-catching. We don’t dye or stain any of our woods so everything from the bright oranges to the deep purples and brilliant reds are all natural. The exotics are fun to work with and each has interesting properties, for example Tulip wood has a floral scent when it is cut and striped Zebrawood smells like the backend of a Zebra.
We are also very conscientious about where our wood comes from. We ensure that the wood we buy is coming from certified sources and is grown and harvested in an environmentally responsible fashion.
When did you start making wood products?
I started about 12 years ago. I have always been the type of person that likes to do things myself. When I wanted a new computer many years ago I taught myself to build them instead of buying one. It was the same with woodworking. I wanted a new guitar and decided I would learn to build one. That started my wood working experiences and I also started building things for the house like doors. It then expanded out to building things for friends and family and it blossomed from there. I think part of my success is that there is nothing I don’t think I can’t build. Yes the first one or two may not be great but I refine my process and skills and try again till I get it right. Just ask my wife – she is the benefactor of all my first flawed prototypes. She has given me a long list of items she wants for the house, I tell her I will put it on my “To do list” but she knows that list always has a number of items for customers at the top and I never seem to have enough time to get to her things.
Tell us about your studio.
I have a small shop at home that I work out of. We have plans to build a bigger workshop but that is a year or two away, so in the meantime I make do by putting many of my tools on moveable bases and wheeling things in and out of the shop as needed. Currently I have a day job so working out of the home on the evenings and weekends is great, as you can imagine with 4 children, things come up on a regular basis and being home and available is important.
I spend a lot of time doing research and if I see an idea that intrigues me I make notes and figure out how I can use my knowledge and skills to adapt it to a design style I like (or I should say my wife likes as she has the real knack for design ideas). I currently have notebooks filled with ideas that I review once or twice a year when I am looking to expand my line.
Do you have a particular favourite?
While I enjoy everything I do, it is exciting and challenging to come up with new designs. That said I still get a kick out of putting the first coat of finish on any of my pieces and seeing the wood grain come alive. We called ourselves Unique Wood Products partly because every piece of wood is different and even though I may have two products of the same design sitting next to each other on the table each has their own special features due to the differences of each individual piece of wood.
Do your wood products require special care or cleaning products?
Because we make and sell wooden cutting boards I get asked on a regular basis by market goers how to care for the wooden cutting boards they have at home. Rule number one for wooden cutting boards, DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER, you will need to wash and dry them by hand. After
washing, if possible, place them on edge for drying. If you have cut something that is smelly you can use a vinegar or lemon wipe first before washing. If you have cut something that has stained your board try putting some salt on that stain and rub it in to help remove it. About once a month you should give your cutting board a treatment with mineral oil, you can buy it at any pharmacy and it is totally food safe. Place a teaspoon or two on the board and rub it in, let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes and wipe off any excess and you are good to go.
How many years have you been at City Market Downtown?
This is our 4th year at City Market Downtown. The first 2 years we were part time and last year and this year we are full time.
Do you have funny, unique or memorable story about selling at the City Market Downtown?
The best thing about the City Market Downtown is the friends we have made. Spending every Saturday with our “Market Mates” we really get to know them and we all help each other out. If someone needs to sneak off for a quick bite to eat or pick up their vegetables for the week there is someone there who will step in and assist. While City Market is a place we come to do business it is also a place we come to meet up with friends.
Why do you like selling at the City Market Downtown?
The first two years we were part time at City Market but we also attended other Saturday markets. We found that with the products we make City Market was the best fit for us and lead to our decision to go there full time. We have now also grown a following of customers that come looking for us there, maybe they have a wedding coming up and need a unique gift or need something built for their home. It has been a great place for us to do business.
On which days will you be at the City Market Downtown?
We will be their every Saturday through the Summer and when it moves back indoors in the fall we will be there most weeks till Christmas when we take a little break to get some sleep and plan for next year.