Curves distinguish Calhoun carpenter's jewelry boxes

Curves distinguish Calhoun carpenter's jewelry boxes

November 4th, 2011 by Casey Phillips in Business Around the Region

Bob Olander, 82, stands next to one of his jewelry boxes in the basement workshop of his home in Calhoun, Ga. Olander has been making the boxes out of domestic and exotic woods using band saws for the last four years.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

• What: Jewelry boxes

• Company: Bob's Wood Shop

• Address: 152 Robbins Creek Trail SW, Calhoun, Ga.

• Email: bjobland@gmail.com

• Telephone: 706-624-1853

• Owner: Bob Oblander

• What's special: Carpenter Bob Oblander hand makes his jewelry boxes out of a variety of domestic and exotic woods, including walnut, oak, bubinga and purpleheart. By using a band saw to shape the wood, Oblander said the walls of his boxes can follow more exotic shapes, rather than be limited to right angles. "You've got something unique and different, unlike anything you'll buy in a store," he said.

• The origin story: Oblander began making jewelry boxes three or four years ago after reading a book about band saw boxes. He first began carpentry in his high school's manual training course. It was love at first cut. "I can still remember the first time I sawed into a piece of walnut. The smell of that piece of walnut has stuck with me through the years." A medical technologist by trade, he began collecting tools for his basement workshop in the late 1960s. For years he made larger pieces, but at age 82, Oblander said he is de-emphasizing those in favor of smaller projects.

• How long does it take to make: 15-20 hours.

• Where it's sold: By custom email and phone order. Also on display at the Chattanooga Market.

• What it costs: $150-$200.

• Future expansions planned: Developing a website to display wares for a wider market.

• Lessons of the trade: "Pricing your work for what you think it's worth and what you'll get for it are two different things," Oblander said. "People will ooh and ahh over them, but that doesn't translate into sales in most instances. Things that seem to sell are things that are priced in the $80-$100 range. If it gets down to that area, every once and a while, I'll sell one."