Woolyboo is a business so nice it had to be made twice, at least that’s how Yellowknifers feel.
Woolyboo’s CNC is the second business launched by the Butt family, the first being Arctic Woolyboo DJ Services, which they started in 1995.
Kaitlynn Butt and her father Kevin Butt purchased a computer numeric control (CNC) machine online in the spring and began making wooden creations for fun in their garage workshop.
Using a metallic router with different types of small drills, their CNC machine carves out three-dimensional grooves and designs.
“We make designs on a computer program and run codes through another computer that the CNC machine is connected to,” said Kevin. “We do a basic carve of the wood and the CNC machine does the detailed parts on the wood. We can determine the depth and design and other features. (The CNC system) can be left alone for hours as it carves out the designs, and then we can pour in resins by hand.
“We realized: ‘You know, I think people would really like this.’ It slowly built on that.”
At the end of May, they began selling their first items. Their creations include crib boards; peg boards; house signs; baby announcement signs with the baby’s date of birth, weight and other details; and they recently produced three award medals for the Aroma Brewealis Homebrew Club’s Brew Dock Memorial Competition.
Their fishboard and inukshuk formats are proving to be the most popular designs, Kaitlynn said.
In August, they plan to install a laser on the machine that will enhance their designs so that they can recreate photos in the wood.
They source their hardwood from shops in Yellowknife when they can, though Kevin said local supplies aren’t always readily available because there’s not much demand to carry the product. They also use reclaimed wood.
“If someone has a piece of furniture made of hardwood and they plan to throw it away, we can work with that. It saves taking it to the landfill,” Kevin said.
Almost two months after they started Woolybooing with wood, the community is responding positively to their work.
“We’ve sold about 35 items so far,” said Kaitlynn. “People seem to like the designs. A lot of people are buying them and shipping them south to the U.S, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia.”
The reactions from customers show Kaitlynn and her father that they’re in the right groove.
“To see the smiles on peoples’ faces when they see the product (is great). We put their ideas into action and they can see the result,” she said.