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STS Kraftworks: A Maker’s Story

“I can make that.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard my husband say that over the past almost 20 years now, we wouldn’t need any other source of income. For better or worse though, he’s (sometimes aggravatingly) usually right. Skipper could make it, fix it or improve it. And, as someone who is about as far from handy as it gets, I am both grateful for, and envious of, that.  

The other side of that coin is that he is also highly distractable—so much so that a few Christmases ago, I gifted him a shirt that reads, “I have ideas I haven’t even thought of yet.” So, it’s a wonder that Skipper felt so passionately about building a better kitchen cutting board that we were able to launch his passion project into a legitimate business last year.

After spending some time thinking about our path to making the business a reality though, it’s not that surprising after all. In fact, I’m not sure it wasn’t a foregone conclusion all along.

Skipper grew up with family and friends who were always hosting gatherings, usually centered around food and often involving a big Santa Maria-style BBQ pit. As a young adult, he pursued cooking in a fine dining restaurant where he learned many finer points of preparing, cooking and serving food. While he entertained the thought of starting a restaurant over the years, with the restaurant failure rate around 30% and that attention deficiency I mentioned earlier, he turned his focus to learning and mastering the craft of woodworking and furniture making.

Three years of classical training at Palomar College furniture making school amplified his passion for fine woodworking. However, finding furniture-making jobs scarce, and driven by the desire to turn technical building challenges into practical and elegant solutions, Skipper pivoted his professional journey into residential construction. Bound by a promise to his mom, he got his general contractor’s license.

Always curious to figure out how things work and propelled by his fascination with aviation, Skipper managed to squeeze in yet another detour along the way to receive his Airframe and Powerplant certification as an aircraft mechanic. Again, with that attention thing—literally attracted to shiny objects in this case.

Throughout his professional turns, woodworking and building custom projects “on the side” remained a constant. Skipper’s compulsion to work with wood, his passion for BBQ-ing, and his frustration at not finding a cutting board that met his wants particularly fueled his determination to design cutting boards that optimize both function and form. Believing that the best tools for those home chefs who celebrate everything about cooking should be a full sensory experience, Skipper refined his designs for decades.

Trying to describe how he wants cooking enthusiasts to feel when using his boards, Skipper says, “It’s like that feeling you get when you’re using a freshly sharpened kitchen knife. The knife effortlessly glides through whatever you are cutting and is such a joy to use.”

That is perhaps what I admire most about Skipper. In his eternal quest to “make it better,” what truly motivates him is the ability to create joy for others as part of an experience. He chases the gratification of crafting something with his hands that inspires others to feel. The ultimate maker’s gift.

As it turns out, this new venture of ours really does seem to be an inevitable step in our journey. All the threads of Skipper’s decades-long professional path and passions woven together to land us here. A destination not possible without all his steps along the way and, yes, even his attention problem.

To all the attention-challenged makers out there, thank goodness for you. Keep making, keep fixing, keep improving. Keep inspiring others to find and feed their craft. Those of us who consider ourselves to be creatively stunted need you.

In a digital world of crypto, NFTs and relationships via device screens, it is all the more important to be intentional about connecting with what is most meaningful to us and nurtures our souls. Thank goodness for the makers with the talent to craft beautiful tangible things that can elicit those intangible joys. As Steve Jobs said, “Those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Thank goodness that my maker, Skipper, is crazy enough to change mine.

For more information or to connect with Skipper Smith, visit or email