Canby man ups his woodworking game
Wood has been an integral part of Brian Jackson's life for a long time.
The Canby resident was a lumber wholesaler for more than 20 years and turned that knowledge into a passion that has morphed into an unexpected business.
Jackson brings American flags, and other specialty flags, to life through a woodworking process that gives the works a "flapping in the wind" kind of vibe. And people are taking notice.
"I made flat American flags for years, but I'd been wanting to make a flag that looked like it was blowing in the wind for a while," Jackson said. "I found this chain-saw wheel and started carving into wood to see how I could make a flag look like it's blowing in the wind."
The experimentation paid off and for Christmas 2018, he made flags for his four sisters. Turns out, they loved the work and thanks to their posting of the gifts on social media, things started to get interesting for Jackson.
"By the first of January, I had about nine people wanting the flags," said Jackson. "Then, the Oregon State Sheriff's Association contacted me and bought 16 of them. In March, my dad and I went to Reno, Nevada, for the Western States Sheriff's Association show. I took 70 flags, donated four to the show, and sold out the rest and came back with about 60 orders.
"When I started to get traction, I wanted to make sure I was donating to the police, military and fire as thanks for the important work they do," he added. "That was an important thing for me."
Jackson produces not only American flags, but also specialty flags of states, universities, military and others. The flags can vary in size from 2- to 6-foot, as well as 8-foot.
"Word of mouth started spreading and by the grace of God it has just continued to grow," he said. "I sold lumber for about 20 years and quit that in April of last year to do flags full-time. I do a lot of college football flags, and just did a Great Britain flag for a lady in Canby."
Working with wood and creating the flags gives Jackson plenty of joy, particularly from the response he gets, whether delivering in person or a response via phone or email from an online order.
"One of the things I love is just seeing the pride in our country," said Jackson. "It seems like we went through a time when we didn't see a lot of American flags out, seemed like we kind of lost that. It's exciting to see businesses and people wanting to buy a flag that's handmade."
The flags take between six hours (2-footer) and 24 hours (8-footer) to complete, begining when he cuts the lumber until they are dried and ready to be delivered.
"I coat them with a water-based polyurethane, so they are waterproof and the sun does not fade the colors," he explained.
The long-term goal, he said, is to continue to grow his business. He's already shipped to 46 states and is looking to continue to expand and hope to be able to pass it on to his 10-year-old son down the road.
"Out of luck and the goodness of God, I hope I can hand it down to him someday," said Jackson.
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