This week we spoke with Tanner from Built Knot Bought about his journey towards creating custom furniture builds. We celebrate our history by diving into Tanner’s inspiration as well as his growth over the years, and why he appreciates Thorogood work boots.
1. First and last name
Oakes, North Dakota (rural area in the southeast corner)
3. Style of boot you wear most often
I’m on my third pair of the Thorogood 6" wedge sole Moc toe work boots (4200) in the classic Tobacco color-way. I initially bought my first pair of Thorogood boots because they are made in the USA and they looked like they were of high quality. As soon as I laced them up I knew that I was never going to buy any other pair of work boot. The out of the box comfort and durability makes Thorogood my premiere choice for a work boot. I work in a wood shop on concrete floors every day for extended periods of time, and these boots provide the all-day comfort I need.
4. What inspires you to do what you do
I find inspiration everywhere. Anything from cool old architecture, to watching other craftsman create unique and original pieces. The gears are always turning in my head for new ideas that I can incorporate into a project. (I keep a wood working journal to write ideas and designs in. ) But my biggest inspiration is an internal fear of mediocracy. I don’t want to build ordinary furniture that you can get at any big box store. I put my heart and soul into everything that I build with the hopes that when it's finished, I can feel proud to put my name/business on it. I get this unexplainable joy out of building furniture that the clients are happy with.
5. What is your purpose for doing what you are doing
My purpose is to build furniture that goes above and beyond the expectations of my clients. In the process of doing so, I hope that I can inspire and teach other people in the woodworking community. It doesn’t matter if it's someone new to the craft or a master craftsman, I’ll always lend a hand or share my ideas with others.
6. How do Thorogood boots help you or why do you wear them
I’m a woodworker and a farmer and I wear Thorogood boots all day every day. Thorogood has created a boot that not only looks great but more importantly provides the all-day comfort and support I need from a work boot. With other footwear my feet would be aching after a long day standing on concrete, but with Thorogood boots I can focus on building heirloom furniture, without having to worry about comfort or durability.
7. How did you get started with your business or woodwork
I initially got started with woodworking straight out of college. I had bought an old fixer upper home and I didn’t have the money to buy any furniture. The only option was to find some cheap tools and start building furniture out of cheap construction pine. I was instantly hooked on the trade and have been building furniture ever since.
8. What struggles have you encountered
I’ve came across many struggles throughout my woodworking journey. The first few builds I created I literally did not sell and i ended up just giving them away. This was disheartening because I put so much time and effort into building them! I quickly switched my focus from building original designs to building custom furniture for clients and business started to pick up.
Another struggle I’ve faced is my demographic. I live in rural North Dakota, and there simply are not that many people in the market for high end furniture in my neck of the woods. Over the years I’ve been able to market and sell my furniture all across the United States, but it took years to get to that point.
The last struggle I wanted to mention, because I deal with this regularly is pricing. It's difficult to put a price on items that have been handcrafted in the USA. It takes a lot of time and attention to detail to build heirloom furniture that people are going to pass down from generation to generation. I often sell myself short just to stay busy.
9. For those wondering, how to get into woodworking, what advice would you have for them?
Just get started, go find some used tools and some decent hardwood and build something, literally anything. Learn from any mistakes that you’ve made along the way and keep on grinding! You can create beautiful furniture without expensive tools, you just need to put in the time and effort necessary to succeed in the craft.
10. What furniture making tools did you start with and what did you progress to?
I started off with some garage sale hand tools and a $15 dollar black and decker jig saw. I’ve never gotten rid of that old jig saw because it’s a good reminder of where it all started. Since then all of the revenue gained through Built Knot Bought has been reinvested in the business to upgrade tools along the way. I went from having less than $50 in tools, to a wood shop with over $10,000 worth of tools/equipment. I take a lot of pride in the equipment I’ve obtained over the years. Nothing was given to me, every dollar spent was earned through my woodworking.
*For more information about Built Knot Bought and to view their products, visit the link below.