Hobby Turned Woodworking Business for Future Shop Teachers

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1 Hobby Turned Woodworking Busines Pic
Pens by epiK Wood Turning, handcrafted from wooden blanks. Fiona Robinson

Brandon Kipe isn’t your average pen salesmen. As an experienced woodworker recently turned on to using a lathe, his portfolio of perfectly crafted wood-turned pens will have you ready to ditch the keyboard and go back to perfecting your penmanship.

It was a long road before pens became Kipe’s signature item. “Both my grandparents were good at woodworking and I’ve always enjoyed it myself. In the past I’ve made bowls, boxes, and backpack guitars, but recently I’ve really gotten into the turning aspect,” explains Kipe.

Kipe’s combined interest in woodworking and enjoyment in teaching people new things led him to the Industrial Arts/Technology Teacher Education program offered through Red River College and the University of Winnipeg. It was there that he met fellow student and future business partner Jordan Kelly of Thunder Bay. 

Although the two have become well-versed in many trades including metalwork, electronics, and graphics, it was their shared interest in woodworking that launched epiK Wood Turning (epiK is Brandon’s surname, Kipe, spelled backwards) this last year.

Wood-turning is a hands-on art that requires precision chiselling while the wood spins on a lathe. Kipe especially enjoys making pens because of the small amount of wood that is required, which means he can work with many different samples and realize results quickly. 

“A simple pen takes me about an hour or so,” he explains as he opens a kit of pre-pen wooden blanks in various sizes, materials, and colours. A few of his favourites include a dark, blackish wood called ziricote and a swirly, variegated wood called cocobolo.  

He holds up a rectangular blank with one dark side. “This one is an upcycled Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrel. You can smell the whisky as it’s being turned.”

Kelly also turns pens and is experimenting with additional product ideas for the business such as pizza cutters, ice cream scoops, shaver handles, and cigar holders.

“Basically, we’re open to making anything that is turned,” sums up Kipe, who has even turned an antique hammer handle into a pen for a commissioned gift.

The two future teachers may even entertain the idea of offering local classes if there’s enough interest in woodworking in the community.

“All we need is the right space and tools,” Kipe says.

Meanwhile, if you’re bored with average pens or looking for a unique gift, follow Kipe and Kelly on Instagram to see the latest items turned out of the epiK Wood Turning shop.

For more information

Instagram: @epikWoodTurning
epiKWoodTurning@gmail.com

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