Butcher Block | Countertops
Elegant, hand made butcher block countertops, produced to your exact specifications and guaranteed.
Dye Chucks | Industrial
Industrial quality dye chucks used in metal spinning to create amazing metal products.
Custom CNC | Products
Custom designed and cnc'd with care to produce quality products that excede expectations
Chances are if you have a metal lamp, vase, ash tray or any other rounded hollow metal object in your home, Frank and Shirley Kilear had a hand in the production of it. As owners of Northern Woodwork, they are one of perhaps only three similar businesses in the United States. They also play a part in many commercial and governmental products such as chicken brooder covers, washing machine tubs, helicopter components and in the recently launched space shuttle.
What is their product? They custom build circular patterns out of hard maple wood. The patterns consist of many smaller pieces of wood, all carefully measured and glued together to conform to the sizes that have been ordered. They can be made in almost any diameter and thickness.
This product is purchased by metal spinning companies from all over the United States. Each pattern will be trimmed to fit the precise needs of a particular product. The pattern is then placed on a special machine and a flat metal disc, the blank, is clamped into position in front of the form. Both then revolve at a very high speed with a craftsman who is called a spinner, exerting pressure on the disc with a long blunt tool. The spinning metal looks like liquid and appears to flow somewhat like a piece of clay on a potter's wheel. Many times the Kielar's don't even know what type of product they are making a form for.
Frank was born and raised in Pulaski and says he only went to school to attend the industrial arts classes in wood working, which he really liked. When the Korean War started in 1950 Frank was drafted and as a member of the 2nd Armored Division he was sent to Germany for the last 18 months of his tour of duty. That was lucky for him in two ways -- first of all because he did not have to go into Korea, and second because he was soon designated as the company carpenter, thus missing out on much field work, and able to work at something he enjoyed.
Frank had married Shirley (daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Eick), in June of 1951 and when he was released from service in 1952 they moved to Chicago where jobs were more plentiful. But while visiting friends in Milwaukee he spotted a "help wanted" sign in a woodwork shop, applied for the job and got it. He worked as a cabinet maker at this shop, but in another area of the shop they made the wood block patterns, sowing the seed for Franks future venture. After eight years at Modern Woodwork the Kielars moved back to Seymour and Frank went into business for himself. He rented space from Otto Wagner in Black Creek and gives Otto credit for teaching him many new carpentry techniques.
Three years later Frank was thinking that perhaps he should build a shop of his own and took a temporary job at Fountain Lumber Co., in Appleton while he tried to decide what to do. That temporary job lasted fourteen years.