As i sit here setting up this new Blog page, i think back to how this all started and how far I've come. As some of you know, i spent 8 years in the Marine Corps Infantry, i served beside some of the best Men and Women that a guy could hope for. I deployed several times to the Middle East and while War is Hell, the Military gave me a place to belong, a purpose and a sense of self that i find difficult to describe. Point is, i loved it and had planned on serving 20+ years. But alas, it wasn't in the cards. After being wounded a few times and getting pretty beat up, my body couldn't take it any longer, so i was medically retired, which broke my heart.
After being Honorably Discharged i didn't know what to do with my life. Everything i worked for and all of my future plans were gone. I had issues dealing with the loss of many friends that crept up on me now that i had no distractions, i was left alone to face my Demons. That's when i reconnected with a high school friend who took this broken Marine and gave me something to love again... her. She urged me to find a new passion in life and never pushed me when i felt low and for that i thank her. I rediscovered that old passion for craftsmanship and art, i even went to a trade school to learn Welding and Metal Fabrication just to add to my skill sets, after all, life is not but the pursuit of knowledge.
Soon after i married my wonderful Bride and created a new family of my own. We now have 5 kids... 5 feral little monsters that make each day interesting! I still needed to find an outlet to keep my mind at ease and give me a purpose, so one day while at the local hardware store, i walked past a cheap wood burning kit and it made me pause. I figured, why not, and picked it up and brought it home. I had no clue what to do with it but i had an old Wine Barrel and formed a crazy idea, hence the birth of Heavy Barrel Designs.
I started making some art projects for friends and family, even a few charity organizations that i was involved with. Next thing i knew, i was getting messages, phone calls and emails asking if i could make something and as the orders came in, this little hobby of mine started to grow. It was great but i could barely keep up and doing it all by hand was time consuming and getting increasingly more difficult. In stepped a dear friend and former Police Officer who i had known for years. As me and Chad sat in my garage, talking over a glass of Bourbon, he told me how he too was looking for a creative outlet. He suggested a partnership and the idea of us getting a Laser Engraver. What a great idea!
We have been partners now for about 3 years and have watched our business grow. We have done craft shows where we have been overwhelmed with love and support from fans of our products and we have done shows where we have sat there waiting for someone, anyone to stop by our booth, we learned what works and what doesn't and all along finding new ways to create and learn. We went from having a couple hundred followers on Social Media to thousands and now, i want to share my 30+ years of knowledge about all things "Craftsman" with you. Maybe you too will find your passion, maybe you can help keep these fleeting life skills from fading away with time. I will teach you the little tricks and tips I've picked up along the way and which tools you will need for the job as well as how to use them.
Lets have some fun!