In 2011, Robert Wendt began creating custom personalized cutting and serving boards as a hobby. The business took off so quickly that he was able to quit his day job as a maintenance mechanic and go full time. To date, he has fabricated and sold nearly 3,000 cutting boards, with shapes of states being his most popular design.
“I really like cutting boards, but I knew when I started that if I was going to do any good selling them that I had to separate myself from the competition, so I decided to focus on state-shaped cutting boards. I made a profit the first year in business and doubled the profit the following year,” says Wendt.
The cutting boards are made for clients all over the world, but Wendt has made a few signs and plaques for local customers. He markets his work through Etsy.com, an online store for makers of handcrafted items.
Wendt says most of his products are usually bought for someone else as a gift and are often only used for decorative purposes. He also puts custom engravings on them, giving them a personal touch for graduation, wedding and birthday gifts. All are made with brown maple, which is cut into thin strips and then glued together to make a strong board. This brings out a multicolored look in each piece. He then uses a CNC to cut out any state shape or any other landmass the customer requests.
“There’s only one state I haven’t done one for and that’s Hawaii. I have no idea why. Ohio is the most popular. Others are New Jersey, Texas and California. I just got one for Canada, which was a tough one to do with so many islands on the northeast part of the country. But I will try to meet all customer requests. I have shipped customers from all over the world, even Australia.”
The boards range from $35 to $60, depending on their size and custom modifications.
For information, visit www.woodbob.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue.