With a dream for a “second act” business, this couple is inventing their future.

Cheryl and Kent Wille of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, are embarking on an exciting new chapter in their lives: taking their first steps in launching their own business together. KNC Woodcrafters offers its customers a variety of original, eye-catching home products made of quality woods, such as cheese slicers and cutting boards. They are currently working on new designs for puzzles and games, and small furniture. From their Facebook page:

We have the ability to customize our existing product line with monograms, scripts, logos, and graphics. Or when additional customization is desired, we work directly with you to create your own unique wood and sign creations for any occasion.

With Kent’s 30 years as woodworker and general contractor, and Cheryl’s background in IT, the two started to daydream about a new, creative challenge that they could embark on together. Cheryl said that they “brainstormed a lot of ideas, including opening a restaurant, getting into real estate upgrading and selling homes, and toying with CNC technology to design and make their own products.”

The couples’ complementary skillets seemed the most natural approach and led to their decision to start KNC Woodcrafting. One of their first investments in the business was a ShopBot Buddy CNC tool.

KNC Woodcrafters has a growing line of cutting boards and cheese slicers

KNC Woodcrafters has a growing line of cutting boards and cheese slicers

Cheryl explained it this way:  “My husband and I are a team in this world. He is the experienced woodworker and I have a computer background; so the two of us are forced to work and learn from each other. I didn’t know collets; and he didn’t know vectors. He works in fractions; I work in decimals. I’m intimidated by the table saw; but with my computer background, running the ShopBot is second nature.”

The Willes recently attended a ShopBot training class at the company’s headquarters in Durham, N.C., which they said was very helpful to their growth as new ShopBotters.  “We both learned a lot from TJ at the ShopBot Training — he made it fun and interesting for everyone there,” Cheryl noted.

The Willes' sent TJ Christiansen, their ShopBot instructor, a special present after training. The note reads in part, "Your training (both in person and web) gave us a great start in the CNC world...I know you'll appreciate the process in creating this Mexican Vase cutting board. The machine cut the pieces flawlessly to provide tight, curved joins."

The Willes’ sent TJ Christiansen, their ShopBot instructor, a special present after training. The note reads in part, “Your training (both in person and web) gave us a great start in the CNC world…I know you’ll appreciate the process in creating this Mexican Vase cutting board. The machine cut the pieces flawlessly to provide tight, curved joins.”

“Starting this new project is making for a very interesting change in our marriage,” remarked Cheryl. “We actually are forced to communicate; without it, the result is doomed to fail. Overall, it is very positive and we are no longer just two different people that happen to live in the same house; it has given our marriage a new definition; and hopefully we can figure out how to make some money too!”

Computer technology is getting both less expensive and easier to use all the time. So if you’re even just thinking about the idea of making a product yourself either as a hobby or as a business, there’s little or no barrier to entry for anyone at any age, to take advantage of computer-driven design and fabricating tools.

To browse the many types of items you can make with the help of a ShopBot Tool, visit the Applications page.

The Willes have installed their ShopBot Buddy in their garage. Learn more about the tool here.

Here’s an overview of the tools and guide to helping you choose. Give ShopBot a call or use this form to get in touch. We’ll be glad to assist you.

DID YOU KNOW? There’s a great, supportive network of digital fabrication businesses at 100kGarages.com.  Check it out and join the community for free.

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