In 2000 Ray Castlebury, of Casper Wyoming, purchased an Ornamental Mill from Legacy Woodworking Machinery. At the time, Ray had a full time metal forming business and enjoyed doing woodworking as a hobby in his spare time. A few years ago Ray decided to expand his woodworking hobby and see if he could produce some additional income on the side, so he purchased the CNC upgrade for his Ornamental Mill and starting turning spindles. Working with wood was very enjoyable and he was intrigued by the possibilities of carving and the expanded capabilities of Legacy’s new line of 5-axis CNC machines. Ray decided to purchase the OM5 5-axis CNC, allowing him to machine a full 4’ x 8’ sheet and turn columns up to 8’ long. Originally he thought he would be making spindles, columns and some “normal things”. Not exactly sure what products he would focus on, Ray started working on his own home building the columns and the handrail for his front porch. Next he purchased a few carving files from VectorArt3D.com and carved a mantel for his fireplace. Once the work on his home was finished he started doing work for family and friends. He carved a sign for his daughters coffee shop and people started to take notice. Customers often stand next to the sign and have their photos taken. One customer asked about the sign and got in touch with Ray to see if he could create plaques for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes for the Wyoming Walleye Stampede which turned out to be the first job that he actually got paid for. Intrigued by the idea of carving signs and plaques, Ray placed samples of his work at the local bank and at the café next to his shop. Soon customers came and Ray started building custom carvings. A neighbor asked him to carve some piece for his ranch and he quickly had an order for over $3,000. Because of Ray’s friendly and generous nature, one thing has led to another. He produced a 46” x 96” carving of the Last Supper for his church, which is the largest know VectorArt3D carving of its type. He also machined custom mouldings that feature a rope twist, consequently, members of the congregation have ordered smaller carvings of the Last Supper for their homes. Ray hasn’t spent any money on advertising. His business is all word of mouth and he has landed jobs for walking canes and carvings for people as far away as North Carolina. One local business paid Ray to create carved swinging doors, which led to more orders. The local fishing tournament has Ray carve doors for prize winners. One potential customer even wants to sell his carved doors to Harley Davidson.
Business has grown to the point that Ray is looking to purchasing a second CNC from Legacy with Auto Tool Change that he can setup the machine and run a part from start to finish while he is eating supper or doing something else. He is creating a business that requires no employees and is easy to manage. He is carefully positioning himself so that when the economy turns around and the construction business returns he will be ready. He is in the process of selling his metal forming business so he can semi-retire and focus on woodworking. Ray says that the reason he hasn’t created a website yet is because he doesn’t want to take on too much business until he is good and ready.