WHEN A HOBBY RUNS AMUCK
 
 
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How Does He Do That?    

I guess this is really the tale of a hobby gone completely amuck! Throughout my life, my mom has always had “a project”. My mom doesn’t go in for just little things….she has BIG projects. Well, after one of her famous projects was complete, I had a small mountain (as high as my head) of scrap pieces left in my wood shop. Being the craftsman I am, I just couldn’t throw it out……I came up with a project of my own. I needed some practice on that new scroll saw I’d bought, so I made puzzles. Little puzzles of course, because the pieces were scrap, but lots – and lots – of puzzles. We gave them away, and friends wanted more. We gave more away and friends of friends offered to pay for more. I still had more scraps to use up and my wife was making comments about the big pile that was left, so I made a bunch of puzzles up and went to a local street corner, put up a sign and sold puzzles till they were all gone. REALLY ! I did it again, and again, until we decided we should probably get serious about this and go into business.

  puzzle hands
     
puzzle show   That was 1991 and the business was called Purple Beech Crafts, named for the River’s Purple Beech tree at the foot of our driveway. In 1994 we added the Postage Stamp Puzzles and things really took off. As with anything, practice makes you better and better. And my skill as a sawyer got better as the years went on, I had to produce products for more and more craft fairs. My wife, Beth, and I made all kinds of things to sell at our local markets and fairs trying to zero in on what we were best at, and what customers wanted. We’ve now honed it down to 3 product lines. Postage Stamp Puzzles, Pentominos, and Painted Wood Puzzles. And we’ve added the name Puzzled Postage! to PBC, to more accurately portray our product.
     
It’s my full time job now. REALLY ! I work in the woodshop by myself , I listen to audio books while I work, and occasionally my wife comes by to help with the painting. We’ve found that taking the scroll saw with us to the arts and crafts shows helps to prove that I’m really “doing it myself”, so while I slave away at the back of the craft booth, Beth is up front helping the customers.    
     
    My saw artistry is helped along by my wife Beth. She helps with the painting sometimes and provides customers with a “talking head” while I slave away at the scroll saw. If space allows, we take the saw along to shows so the customers can see me at work. Even then we’ve had people say “I’ve seen it and I still don’t believe anyone can cut that small!”