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In 2005, my wife helped me realize that all questions have an answer.
She asked, “Can you make a wood wedding ring?”
My answer was, “Yes.. but…”
In woodworking, you, as the woodworker, will be the only one that knows where your mistakes lie in any given creation. The mentality that there is only one way of doing something is what kept me from seeing the wonderfully simple beauty in the question, “Can you make a wood ring?”.
First, there is the question of durability that needs an answer. As a woodworker, you have learned that “the world is flat” quite literally, thanks to the industrial revolution. You cut, drill, plane, sand, or otherwise abuse this very natural material that we call wood. It is all done in the name of speed and efficiency, all the while killing the spirit and soul of the woodworker in the process.
So when my wife asked me, can I make a wood wedding ring, I quickly dismissed the notion. I wasn’t listening to my wife; she didn’t ask if it would be strong, or if people would like it. She wasn’t asking if people would fall in love with these little wooden rings that manifest human emotion, or if we would post the first wooden ring on Etsy. She didn’t ask if it would end up cutting a groove so deep that hundreds of “would-be woodworkers” would be able to give the world an alternative to the traditional wedding ring. She wasn’t asking to create a wood wedding ring that would connect us with thousands of the best customers the world has to offer.
She simply asked… “Can you make a wood ring?”
As simple as, I like to say, my wife’s question was, she understood that to answer life’s most straightforward questions was enough, beyond that, we are filling life with things we believe are essential and only work to obscure what is truly wonderful about life.
After all these years, I continue to find peace and purpose in life, telling customer’s stories with these little wood wedding rings. After I had dismissed the idea, my wife asked again, “Can you bend wood?”, I finally knew the answer to the question. She was a fan of Ames bentwood furniture, so I told her that wood would bend within limitations, but not thick enough to be durable to be worn every day. She let me sit a few days then showed me a piece of paper rolled itself, and that’s the moment it clicked. The world was round!
We have not looked back since that moment, and after our woodworking journey spans more than 20 years and still going, Gustav Wood Rings will continue to giving the world an eco-friendly alternative to traditional wedding rings. “Can you make a wood ring?” is a simple question that gets me out of bed every morning excited to try and answer.
Thank you to my wife, Juanita, for that simple question and all the fantastic customers that understand life exists in the wonderfully simple parts!