Our Story by Doc Tom Bottenfield
There is something special about the feeling you get when riding in a classic or antique boat. The exquisite lines, beautiful woodwork, the purr of the motor and the unique story and history behind each craft. I get that same sensation when I come across a piece of discarded or otherwise useless piece of wood and have the chance to repurpose it into something of beauty. That is why I am so passionate about creating our handmade bowties.
Several years ago, while practicing as a school psychologist, I had an administrator ask me if I would create for him a wooden bowtie. The concept of a wooden bowtie was foreign to me at the time, but I gave it a shot. He loved the results and since then I have been making them for friends and family. More recently, my wife and I, with the encouragement of several close friends, thought it might be a fun and exciting endeavor to branch out and expand our production.
One such friend, Tim Brown, in addition to being a master woodworker is also an avid diver in the St. Clair River in Port Huron, Michigan. Tim has been able to salvage some remarkable pieces of wood from the depths of the river and has been generous enough to share them with me so I can create one-of-a-kind bowties with equally interesting back stories.
I have also been able to create bowties from scrap mahogany left over from master boat builders, cherrywood salvaged from discarded antique furniture, century old walnut logs that were destined for the burn pile and American elm trees that were decimated by the elm disease.
We have also been getting creative with the type of fabric we use for our bowties, and the emblems/insignias that appear on them. Recently, I was able to honor one of my close friends with the US Air Force emblem from my father’s World War II ring. His son had died while serving our country and after attaching the emblem to the fabric I gave the completed bow tie to this patriot who proudly wears it in honor of his son anytime he can. He jokingly says that when he wears it to a wedding, he gets more photographs than do the bride and groom. We have also incorporated swatches from grandad‘s favorite heirloom tie, small pieces of fabric from sails and nautical burgee’s, and designed emblems representing people’s favorite hobbies, fraternities, colleges and sports teams. My youngest son was recently married and his wedding party all sported custom bowties matching the bridesmaid’s dresses. The options are seemingly endless and we love pushing the limits of our creativity.
It is said that Mark Twain once stated, ‘Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’ For me, making wooden bowties with my wife at my side is that “something”. We hope you have enjoyed our story and would like to purchase one of our unique bowties as a gift to yourself, friend or loved one. A significant portion of our proceeds are donated to local nonprofit organizations as a way of supporting those in need. You can find out more by visiting our website at doctombowties.com.
Tie one on!