When he started as a woodworker 33 years ago, Geoffrey Noden never imagined he would be selling tools. The owner of Noden Furniture Design in Trenton, N.J., is the inventor of the Noden Inlay Razor and Adjust-A-Bench.
“Both of these products were developed in response to my own need as a wood craftsman. A lot of people have ideas that might be good and they might see if someone else does this successfully, then maybe they can to,” says Noden.
The Adjust-A-Bench (www.adjustabench.com) is a kit for adjusting the height of a woodworker’s bench. It includes a pair of steel supports and a ratchet mechanism to provide an adjustable range of 16-1/2”.
The Noden Inlay Razor (www.inlayrazor.com) is a tool that uses double-edged razor blades set inside a wooden block to make an unlimited variety of inlay bandings. The blocks are bisected kerfs that can be straight, rounded or curved — or any shape that you can bend the razor blade to fit the profile.
Noden has patents on both products, giving him the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling their invention for a limited time. Noden says the patent process is not as difficult or expensive as generally believed, though he did spend about $5,000 for each patent.
“I read “Patent It Yourself” by David Pressman [Nolo Press] before getting started. It’s a good book to read, but I wouldn’t try patenting something myself. I’m not cut out for that because of all of the language you have to use. But it was helpful to read about why a patent is important and what it can do for you.
“I’ve talked to people and they say a patent won’t do you any good. But what a patent does is give you is the right to protect your invention.”
Noden is currently selling direct to consumers. He’s had interest from distributors, but would need to reduce the manufacturing cost to maintain his profit margin. Inventing the product is just the tip of the iceberg.
“Right now I’m having the parts for the Inlay Razor made by a machinist, but I’ve made some tools that allow me to make the parts myself. That will help me to control my costs so that I can offer the distributors the price they need and everyone will be happy.”
Contact: Noden Furniture Design, 232 Stokes Ave., Trenton, NJ 08638. Tel: 609-882-3300. www.geoffreynoden.com
This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue.