Jason Thigpen, Texas Heritage Woodworks

What is the #1 most played song on your ipod/audio device of choice?
-I've got my Pandora set on Frontier Ruckus with a heavy emphasis on North Mississippi All-Stars, Widespread Panic, and Alabama Shakes. Y'all should try it. It will blow your creative mind!

What is your favorite food?
-Mexican food. Nothing else even comes close.

Who is your celebrity twin?
- Any twin of mine would be too much of an introvert to be a celebrity!

What is your “day job?” What does a day in your life look like?
-I've been a mechanic for over a decade, working on everything but specializing in European cars. I was a Master Technician for BMW for several years. Most of my day as I'm working on cars, I'm thinking about the work that needs to be done in the shop!

When you aren’t working or making stuff, what do you love to do? What do you hate to do?
-The only thing that can take me away from making stuff is my family. We enjoy random dance parties, high fives, and sword fights. And nachos. We really enjoy nachos.

What would your dream life look like? How do you see your life moving towards that dream in the next year? The next five years?
-Our plan is to build a small shop and house on the family ranch in Leakey. Then I could sit on our porch every morning with a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise. Have breakfast with the family, then go out in the shop and get to work. Our kids will be homeschooled, so some parts of each week will be set aside for lessons and hands on learning in the shop. There are tons of practical life lessons that can be taught in that environment. Texas Heritage Woodworks is making this dream look more and more like a reality. I believe we have found a way to live and work on the ranch. We hope to make great strides towards this transition in the next year. Five years from now, we intend to be well established out in the country, living the dream.

What has your greatest success in life been so far? Or, what does "success" look like for you and when will you have achieved it?
-Personally, I'm happily married to my lovely wife of eight years. We have two amazing boys with a third child on the way. Personally, I see that as successful. Professionally, I've been successful in my career as a technician. In my personal business, I'm seeing more and more success with each coming month. I will feel successful in my business if it can become self sustaining.

Was there a mentor/inspiration that taught or guided you to become a maker? Or what was the catalyst that lead you to start making stuff?
-Making, and working with my hands in general, has been an ever present part of my life. Growing up, my dad was "frugal", a trait that is apparently genetic! Instead of having someone come out to build or repair something, we did it ourselves. I grew up out in the country; fixing fences, building barns, performing minor medical procedures on livestock, all were daily occurrences for me. When I started dating my wife, who was raised under similar ideals, I discovered her dad also dabbled in leather work and woodworking. I was interested, and he was very supportive. Those mediums were just a natural progression for me.

What’s the coolest thing you have ever made?
- I am in love with my Auger Bit Rolls. There really isn't a product out there like it. I've got a dozen to take to WIA, I hope the rest of the woodworking community feels the same!

How long have you been seriously pursuing making stuff and perfecting your craft?
-I've been seriously doing this for only around six months. I sold my first apron around 10 months ago. At the time, I never thought it would manifest into what it has!

When do you have your best ideas? What inspires them?
-there is no telling where inspiration will strike. It can literally happen anywhere. In the middle of the night, while making dinner, out in the shop, or on the drive to work. Some part of my brain is always tuned into progressing my business and improving my product line.

Who are some of your favorite makers?
-That one is easy. Roy Underhill has been a staple in my life for years. The progression towards handtools and traditional construction techniques all come from him. Lately, it's Marco Terenzi, the 24 year old Miniature craftsman extraordinaire!

Who is your biggest fan?
-My wife. No doubt about it.

What brings you the most joy? What gets you really excited? What makes you laugh?
-watching my two sons, ages five and nineteen months, learn and grow each day. It's one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring things to witness! Playing old school Nintendo with my oldest is a newfound joy!

What do you wish someone told you when you first got started making stuff? (Or maybe someone did tell you and you wish you had listened)?
Any other advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?
-That you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Just because there are other items out there similar to what you want to do, doesn't mean you can get a foothold in that market and be successful. All it takes is a small innovation to really change how the industry views a product. Be persistent and have faith in yourself.

Posted on August 21, 2014 .