leonie on Jul 8, 2016
Received my Precious Tool today..wow this is an awesome Tool, well designed and will be used. Glad I found this. Thank you!
Third Career Choice Is the Charm
Boyd Wright got into creating kaleidoscopes by accident. He had a woodworking business, wanted to do more lathe work, saw a scope one day and said “let’s try one”. Actually, his story starts much earlier.
As a young man Boyd visited his uncle, a banker, who did woodworking in his spare time. He observed how his uncle enjoyed this creative outlet. Later, serving as General Counsel for the University of North Dakota, Boyd become dissatisfied with the drawn out legal system and found it frustrating to see how long it took to see matters come to a conclusion. Remembering how gratifying woodworking was for his uncle, Boyd decided to start a woodworking business of his own.
In 1983 he built a small building behind his home and moved in his uncle’s equipment. Within a year he enjoyed his “pass-time” business so much it became his passion and Wright Made Products became an official part-time business. He started crafting and selling wooden board games and sold them at local craft fairs. When electronic games became more prevalent in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the demand for board games declined. To accommodate the change in the market, he moved on to other products such as hand-crafted kaleidoscopes and executive desk accessories. Finding that developing a piece of wood into a finished product took much less time than waiting for legal decisions, he continued creating wooden scopes part-time until 1990 when he decided to leave the University and devote his full energies to Wright Made Products.
In addition to learning his art of woodturning, Boyd had to develop his business skills. Wright says, “One of the biggest challenges has been learning all of the myriad details of running a home-based business. As an entrepreneur, you need to learn from your mistakes, be willing to try new approaches, and learn from anybody that you can”. In 2010, Boyd received the North Dakota Home Based Business Champion award sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). He also won the Region VIII award and was declared the National Home Based Business Champion by the SBA for 2010. This was the first time a North Dakota based business won the national award.
Boyd primarily does work on a wood lathe, stating “The most enjoyable part for me is the actual turning of a piece of wood and watching it become a finished piece – seeing the wood grain patterns emerge and how that influences my design decisions. I almost never have a pre-conceived notion of a design before I actually turn a piece. I wait to see how the grain pattern looks and then “turn” it accordingly”.
In addition to scopes, Boyd makes wooden back scratchers, desk items, pill boxes, bar accessories, cutlery, jewelry, key rings, and more, all handcrafted in exotic woods from around the world. He also likes to work with "Dymondwood", a man-made laminate of maple veneers that are glued and dyed in a rainbow of colors. Currently he is specializing in kaleidoscopes because that is what the market demands.
Boyd crafts many types of wooden scopes; mini, mini oil wand, image wheel, oil cell, large oil wand, and cigar box scopes. When asked if he has a favorite piece, he replies” I like the cigar box kaleidoscopes the best as they are unique, different, and, as far as I know, mine are the only ones being made”.
Boyd lives in North Dakota with his wife of over 30 years, Lillian, who is retired as Dean of Students at the University of North Dakota. His hobbies are genealogy, reading, and travel. He also collects some kaleidoscopes, mostly from artists he knows and mostly wood but some glass. When asked about his future scope plans Wright said, “Keep doing what I am doing as long as I can”.
Woodworking, using highly-figured, colorful, domestic and exotic woods, has been my passion for over 25 years now.
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