This Friday, we're launching a selection of beautiful, handcrafted cutting boards cut, sanded, and finished at the hands of Lexington firefighters who have a passion for woodcraft. And, as usual, they're in limited supply. We've only got 50 to share with the world – so get them while they're hot. Sanded to a silky finished and sealed with mineral oil, the Kick Ass Kentucky-shaped cutting board is perfect for in-home display, daily use, or special occasion entertaining when you want everything to taste especially delicious.
There's a story behind these boards. Andy Carter and Tad Willis, Lexington Firefighters together since 2004, began a new venture in the summer of 2011 when a friend asked them to make built-in bookshelves for Two Chicks, a local Lexington boutique. Though Andy originally had little experience with woodworking, Tad had been crafting ornate wood pens and furniture for years, and so they joined forces and began making a series of bookshelves for various friends, acquaintances, and small business owners around the Bluegrass. However, it wasn't until Tad and Andy began making cutting boards for the same boutique that they realized the huge demand for beautiful and unique custom boards. As Andy says, "This is when bout business began…we honestly had no idea of the popularity of the cutting boards nor the demand." Their business grew steadily as the word spread through the Commonwealth that these two firemen were making boards unlike any others.
Andy explains the evolution of Red Wagon Cutting Boards, "In our early days of cutting board making, we did most everything by hand (pieced the wood together, shaped the boards with a bandsaw, hand-sanded, etc.). As business increased, we quickly saw the need for additional resources. In September of 2013, we invested in a machine to help increase production. Though we are still able to provide each cutting board with our personal touch, the additional resources have helped increase our productivity. We have been able to expand our business beyond the Lexington market and we are currently selling our products in 20 boutiques throughout the state."
Andy and Tad continue to fight fires, but now their free time is also dedicated to nurturing a thriving small business, a project that lends even more diversity to their work. They thoughtfully articulated the balance between their two professions: "We have been truly blessed to have the opportunity to grow a side business while maintaining our number one profession, which is to serve the city of Lexington as firefighters. We both have a passion to help others and value the brotherhood of the fire department. Not to mention, our job is never dull. We can honestly say that each workday is different from the others. We look forward to the challenges that we are faced with on a daily basis and are readily available to help when others are in need."
Each cutting board made by Red Wagon is crafted from a different combination of wood, which Andy and Tad source from a local vendor. The boards that we're offering for sale here at Kentucky for Kentucky may include white oak, ash, Peruvian walnut, American walnut, sapele, soft and hard maple, and cherry. The combination of grain, depth, and color available sets the Red Wagon boards apart from other products; each one is a distinctive piece of art.
Like any good Kentuckians, Andy and Tad love the Commonwealth as much as they love fighting fires for the fine folks of their community. They put it best, "We are inspired by the unique charm of the bluegrass state. We believe that there is no other state quite like Kentucky. Kentuckians are proud of their state, what it has to offer…and are extremely supportive of local businesses and ventures."
We hope that you'll help to celebrate some of the finer aspects of the Commonwealth with us as we launch wooden goods crafted with pride here in Lexington, Kentucky by firemen who keep their indulgences simple, because, "well, who can live in the state of Kentucky and not love horses, UK Basketball and bourbon!"
Cheers to that, our friends. 50 for sale on Friday, April 3rd at 10am. $40 per board.
Photos by Stanley Sievers. Words by Hannah LeGris.