The Fremont Podcast

Episode 103: Turning Wood into Wonder with Brad Bond

January 26, 2024 Ricky B Season 3 Episode 103
Episode 103: Turning Wood into Wonder with Brad Bond
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 103: Turning Wood into Wonder with Brad Bond
Jan 26, 2024 Season 3 Episode 103
Ricky B

When Brad from Q Branch Woodwork spins a piece of wood into a masterpiece, it's not just a craft; it's an act of transformation. Today's conversation takes us through the whirl of woodturning, where danger and beauty dance together on the lathe, revealing how Brad's signature creations have become a heartbeat for the Fremont community. Discover the nuances of working with wood at high speeds, the well-oiled dance between maker and machine, and the anticipation of larger projects with Brad's upcoming lathe upgrade, a promise of grander artistry on the horizon.

Navigating a path from idle pandemic hobbyist to a thriving online business, Brad's story is a testament to the power of passion and persistence. His journey, much like the art of podcasting, highlights the significance of presentation and the meticulous attention to detail—whether it's in shaping stunning wood bowls or crafting conversations that captivate your mind. Join us as we explore the shared dedication that goes into creating things of beauty and value, be it through the microphone or the hands of a skilled wood artisan.

In this episode, we celebrate the intersection of handcrafted goods and the community that embraces them. We step into the challenges of standing out in a marketplace like Etsy, where quality and design become the lifeblood of a woodturner's craft. But it's not just about the products; it's about a dream to weave this art into the fabric of Fremont, to open a storefront in Niles that's more than a shop, and perhaps one day, transitioning from passion to full-time pursuit. Witness the journey, the craft, and the community in an episode that's all about the beauty of wood and the hands that shape it.

If you want to seen more or learn more about Brad Bond and his amazing woodturning work, check out his website here. 

If you want to follow him on Instagram, you can find it here. 

Our if you would like to see some of his work on Youtube, you can find it here. 

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When Brad from Q Branch Woodwork spins a piece of wood into a masterpiece, it's not just a craft; it's an act of transformation. Today's conversation takes us through the whirl of woodturning, where danger and beauty dance together on the lathe, revealing how Brad's signature creations have become a heartbeat for the Fremont community. Discover the nuances of working with wood at high speeds, the well-oiled dance between maker and machine, and the anticipation of larger projects with Brad's upcoming lathe upgrade, a promise of grander artistry on the horizon.

Navigating a path from idle pandemic hobbyist to a thriving online business, Brad's story is a testament to the power of passion and persistence. His journey, much like the art of podcasting, highlights the significance of presentation and the meticulous attention to detail—whether it's in shaping stunning wood bowls or crafting conversations that captivate your mind. Join us as we explore the shared dedication that goes into creating things of beauty and value, be it through the microphone or the hands of a skilled wood artisan.

In this episode, we celebrate the intersection of handcrafted goods and the community that embraces them. We step into the challenges of standing out in a marketplace like Etsy, where quality and design become the lifeblood of a woodturner's craft. But it's not just about the products; it's about a dream to weave this art into the fabric of Fremont, to open a storefront in Niles that's more than a shop, and perhaps one day, transitioning from passion to full-time pursuit. Witness the journey, the craft, and the community in an episode that's all about the beauty of wood and the hands that shape it.

If you want to seen more or learn more about Brad Bond and his amazing woodturning work, check out his website here. 

If you want to follow him on Instagram, you can find it here. 

Our if you would like to see some of his work on Youtube, you can find it here. 

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Brad Bond:

There's something of value to a community that chooses to support somebody who is looking to obtain mastery of craft.

Ricky B:

That's great.

Brad Bond:

Like. This is not a discipline without danger. We start very, very slowly. We use very sharp tools. We try to look for an optimal cutting speed at the edge to be somewhere in the neighborhood of like 25 to 35 miles an hour. Anything above that starts to get into you know, possibly broken bones territory if something goes wrong.

Gary Williams:

Coming to you straight from Fremont, california. This is the Fremont podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time. Hello, I've seen that whole contraption set up before. It looks fun. Hey, man. Hey, how are you Good?

The Fremont Podcast Team:

to see you.

Brad Bond:

Good to see you. Happy New Year. Happy New Year.

Ricky B:

Yeah, I mean, where is it we need to? You're waiting on a drink, right? Cool, awesome. One thing I was going to mention to you in the meeting. But I asked if Jennifer Petruselli would let us use her space for new interviews. I mean, I like doing it down here, but I think that maybe it's a nice comfortable space. She's got some nice chairs in there, it's a view of the hills. And then she said, yeah, she said she'd love to, so we're going to go in there, do the interviews, so anything that would normally be done here we'll just do it down here.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

Yeah, let me know when you're ready to switch it over to there.

Ricky B:

Yeah, the other thing is that I want to be able to set up a camera to video the person talking and use it for social media.

Brad Bond:

Just like a background reel, yeah.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

At some point I'm going to have to tell people you are listening to episode 103 of the Fremont podcast.

Ricky B:

I love it.

Gary Williams:

Oh, there it is. Now here's your host, ricky B.

Ricky B:

So I've got Brad with me, with Q Branch Woodwork, woodworks, yeah, woodworks. Yeah, you and I met at the Niles Farmers Market or somewhere around the way. Maybe it was first on Instagram, but I think I remember seeing you around and I fell in love with the work that you do, like I'm looking at it. Now We've got some right here in front of us and it's phenomenal. Now I'm going to get into some of this. Yeah, please. But before we do that, how would you describe what you do? You said just a minute ago you said ornamental something and I was like, well, that's a cool name.

Brad Bond:

So what do you do? What do you call what you do? So I consider myself a woodturner. This causes me some issues because people think I mean woodworker, right, can I like frame them a house?

The Fremont Podcast Team:

Do. I love making cutting boards, that's right.

Brad Bond:

Really I make stuff on a lathe, so I make if it's round, it's in my wheelhouse, basically. So the lathe is your kind of like your primary instrument that you work with Exactly exactly the whole idea being for those that don't know is it spins wood around very quickly and I use my hands and some chisels to remove pieces from the wood. So, it's a purely subtractive art form of craft or whatever you want to call it. So in some ways.

Ricky B:

So episode 100, we had.

Brad Bond:

Jake. Congratulations, by the way. Yeah, thank you.

Ricky B:

Thank you, we had Jake on there. He's the ceramics teacher at Washington High School and he works on a wheel as well. And so, in some sense, the work that you do is generally going to come out symmetrical, then right, would that be true of yeah?

Brad Bond:

yeah, for the most part. For sure there are some things that we can do. We would call it multi-axis turning, where you're moving the center point of the piece in between turns or in between sessions. But that gets a little bit dicey. Basically anytime you take something that's rotating it 2000 RPM and move it off center, it causes things to walk, which is why, my lathe is 300 pounds and has sandbags on the bottom.

Ricky B:

I got you. I got you Very cool. So what you do? You're a wood turner. What kind of things do you form? What do you make?

Brad Bond:

So the thing that I really like to make is sort of small intricate boxes. I like the fact that the pieces have to fit together rather precisely, that they're cut from the same piece of wood so you get continuous grain, and there's a lot of specialized technique that goes into that.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

What sells for me is bowls so that's a pretty core part of really, this is just a hobby, that's gotten out of control, but it is technically a business. It's an LLC.

Brad Bond:

And bowls kind of keep the lights on and keep sandpaper in the cabinets and stuff like that.

Ricky B:

How long so we've got different bowls here. I've got probably a bowl right here that's a six inch diameter. What kind of wood is this?

Brad Bond:

That is paduk, so that's an exotic wood from South America.

Ricky B:

Okay, and it's got a real I mean just really smooth out outer shell. But the inside, what would you call the grooves on the inside?

Brad Bond:

I would call that ornamentation.

Ricky B:

How long would it take you to make one of these?

Brad Bond:

Just the bowl without the ornamentation. I can knock something like that out in 30 minutes probably, okay and then the ornamentation takes how long. Another two hours on top of that Wow very cool.

Ricky B:

And then you've got large bowls. How large of work do you do? And then you have some small little. What are these coasters or what?

Brad Bond:

Ring dishes basically just meant to hold small objects and keep them off your desktop, or what have you? My current capacity is 20 inches, but having a rig brought in that'll give me capacity up to 32 inches which. I'm very excited about.

Ricky B:

I'm just imagining like a big, huge chunk of block of wood on a lathe. That size, that's huge.

Brad Bond:

Yeah, it can get a little bit dicey, because this is not a discipline without danger. There's no guard on the outside because you need to be able to reach the wood with your tools. We start very, very slowly. We use very sharp tools because that's much safer. Right, You'd rather cut the?

Ricky B:

wood than have it throw things at you. That's right, that's right.

Brad Bond:

Yeah, so once you start getting up to, we try to look for an optimal cutting speed at the edge. So RPM times the radius to be somewhere in the neighborhood of like 25 to 35 miles an hour.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

Wow.

Ricky B:

You just get into possibly broken bones territory if something goes wrong. Wow, that's incredible.

Brad Bond:

The rule of thumb with wood turners is basically you turn the lathe up until it scares you and you back it down. 10 to 15% Faster is better because you're effectively getting a higher resolution of cut. So every time the wood is coming back around to that same point. The distance between those points, the tighter you can get that, the smoother a finish you get and then you're having to do less sanding at the end.

Ricky B:

You can't just jump into this and say I'm going to buy a lathe and start making bowls. When did you get started in this and how did that happen?

Brad Bond:

Sure, so I boy. I think it's been about 20 years since I did my first turning. My grandfather was a master furniture builder, but really only for his own life, like he didn't have a factory or anything like that he was just trying to make insanely detailed and finely crafted pieces for his own home, and so he would turn his own table legs. Obviously, he wanted to do everything himself.

Brad Bond:

He wanted to machine his own bolts, what he had to, and so he took me out, he put a piece of wet madrone in between centers on the lathe and put a table leg that he wanted replicated up in the windowsill so I could see it, and handed me the tools and said go ahead and come inside when this is finished.

Ricky B:

Oh my goodness, that's crazy Kind of trial by fire for sure. Did you do it, I mean?

Brad Bond:

Yeah, I mean, it came out pretty well.

Gary Williams:

Okay.

Brad Bond:

I think it's time, something that I know now. Madrone is very, very common up and down the West Coast and in the Pacific Northwest and it warps so quickly that you can literally hear it. Like, if you turn a bowl from green madrone, you can sit there and literally listen to it warping. It's like listening to corn grow.

Ricky B:

It's mild. Oh my goodness.

Brad Bond:

And so I was encountering all these vibrations. He gave me like the most challenging piece of wood to work with that you could even dream of, and so I would sort of do it in summers when I went to visit it, visit him in Oregon, and then, when the pandemic hit, my wife was pregnant and we didn't have a child already, and so she was sleeping like 14, 16 hours a day and we were locked inside, and so just one day I was losing my mind. I was bored of like video games.

Brad Bond:

I felt like I'd seen everything on YouTube at that point already and I went to Harbor Freight and bought a cheap lathe and a cheap set of chisels and started it up and pretty quickly I figured out like those chisels were more dangerous than anything else. So then I got a set of carbide tools and then I figured out that those were giving a pretty rough finish and then I got stainless, which gets you into the sort of sharpening realm. Really, what it turns out you are as a woodturner is a master sharpener who gets to turn wood. Sometimes it's kind of its own thing, like everybody has their own technique their own voodoo magic but makes their edge the perfect edge

The Fremont Podcast Team:

for them.

Brad Bond:

And it's just kind of snowballed from there. I started selling work to afford more and better tools, to give myself more capability so that I could turn more things, so that I could sell them and expand the shop. And now you see, I have like 500 square feet full floor to ceiling with finishes, tools, absolutely everything.

Ricky B:

Yeah, I mean, you've got your own little setup here for doing YouTube videos as well. And then product was that a product photo cubes thing?

Gary Williams:

Yeah, yeah little photo booth, that's cool wow.

Brad Bond:

Yeah, if you're gonna try to sell online, you have to make it look nice, which is it's not my fort you know I'm out here in like. Costco jeans and a V you know, the appearance portion of it is. I'm really focused on the work.

Ricky B:

So, I've really had to learn the marketing side of it, that's awesome, yeah, so I didn't realize that, but so it would have been near the time that you and I first met that you started this, because we met in that COVID period, I think, yeah, and I didn't realize that you had only been doing it for a short amount of time. But I think that if you were to look at these bowls and the work that you do, I would think you've been doing it for 20 years you know?

Brad Bond:

Look, I appreciate it. This is the thing that's going on in the back of my mind constantly.

Ricky B:

It's beyond obsession. That's cool. Well, I mean, I guess it's cool for the right people, yeah yeah, I find a lot of people have something like that.

Brad Bond:

You know, it's just it's an extra problem that you're chewing on, you know when you're up at four o'clock in the morning feeding the baby or you're washing your 130th bottle of that week. You just kind of need something else to noodle on.

Ricky B:

Well it's similar to what I do, too, with the podcast, in the sense that the podcast is a side thing that I do. You know, it's not my main thing and one of the things that I I don't want to say. I don't know if I would say I was criticized, for maybe I was, but I was challenged with. Early on, actually before I did the podcast, I was challenged by somebody that I needed to really learn how to ask good questions and I kind of took it as an insult, but I also took it as a challenge to say, okay, how do you ask the right questions?

Ricky B:

And how do you, you know, prompt, good conversation with asking the right questions, and so in some sense, like I have, you know, there's one side of podcasting where you could say podcasting is just, you know, recording audio conversation and editing it and so on. But then there's the whole there's like an art behind it as well where you're like I really want to have a good conversation with somebody.

Ricky B:

I want to hear the best things from that person, and so I will go back and listen to my episodes and just like think about, like I asked this question this way, I got this response. Is that the response I was looking for, and could I have done something better to ask the question in a different way to make it a better conversation?

Brad Bond:

Sure, I mean, this is sort of the classic creative journey. The first step is jump in, and then you do it and you're so happy that you've done it. You know, you have your 45 minutes or you have your first, you know dumpy lucky bowl. And then you're so proud to have done it that you can't really be objective about it at that point.

Brad Bond:

And then you do a couple more. You start making what I would consider like the natural improvements right, which is just feeling better about it just being comfortable, and then you can look back at sort of your earlier work and think oh boy, that wasn't great.

Gary Williams:

Like that really wasn't that good at all.

Ricky B:

And then you can. That's when you really get to start to dive in, and I tell people too when they listen to the podcast. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

Oh, how about this? We'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation.

Ricky B:

There you go, we'll be right back. You can hear the rest of this conversation in just a moment.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

Okay. So banter bookshop in Fremont, in downtown Fremont Really cool, fantastic bookshop. If you are looking for a book and you know exactly what it is, that's great. If you don't know exactly what you want, but you have an idea of the type of thing that you want, you're not going to be helped well by shopping online. Do you know who is going to help you when you have no idea what you're doing or some idea what you're doing? Independent bookstore? Go to banter bookshop, tell them vaguely what you're after and they will help you find a book.

Ricky B:

If you are looking to buy or sell your home, look no further than Petracelli Homes. You can find out more about them at PetracelliHomescom or pay Jennifer a visit in downtown Niles. And now back to our conversation.

Brad Bond:

Oh boy, that wasn't great. That really wasn't that good at all. And then you can. That's when you really get to start to dive in Well.

Ricky B:

I tell people too, when they listen to the podcast they're like oh, the Fremont podcast, I'll check it out. And I usually say and this is no offense to Miles, because I absolutely love Miles episode one, fremont Gear. You know he's a great guy, I love him to death. Glad he was able to be there for episode one.

Ricky B:

But I will tell them, don't listen to episode one or if you do listen to episode one and then make sure you listen to another episode, because that was early on. I was trying to figure out how everything was going to work, and I've learned a lot since then, so don't base the entire hundred episodes on just that first episode.

Brad Bond:

I hear you completely.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

I gave away stuff as gifts in my first year that I wish I could take back, so badly, because I think that's what people think, that I still do.

Brad Bond:

That's my level of quality now, and I was so proud of them at the time I was like I cannot believe that this all came together. Look at the figure in this wood this is crazy. And I look back at them and I think that would have gone in the burn pile immediately. That was just horrible.

Ricky B:

Let's talk about that a little bit more. This is a side thing. So you have a normal job that you do, and then you're a dad of two needy babies and then how much are you putting out right now? How many products or bowls or whatever you're doing? How much do you put out, say, in a week?

Brad Bond:

Ideally I could get four to five nice bowls done in a week. That typically includes two or three that I either throw away or send to the burn pile by burn pile.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

I don't actually mean I get to burn these things.

Brad Bond:

I have to put them in the green bin or I have a stack over in this area. You can see one of them over there where I try texturing and carving and stuff like that. Basically turn them into a blank canvas to try to make something out of them. Either the shape's not working or the grain is just so boring that I know nobody's going to want it. So yeah, probably total output is seven bowls across, maybe four to five hours a week, if I'm lucky.

Ricky B:

That's cool. So what are some of the things that I have maybe worked with a lathe once or twice in my life? If I were to imagine the process of what it takes to create one of these bowls, I imagine a lot of pretty basic steps that you could guess Pick a piece of wood, put it between the points, start spinning and start cutting. What are some of the things that, like you mentioned, the grain is so boring? That's interesting to me because I don't know that. I know exactly what you're saying when you said it, because I look for certain things when I'm shopping at a market or something like that.

Ricky B:

I'm like I just don't like the way that one looks. I don't know that. I would have said it's the boring grain, but now that you said it I'm like, oh my goodness, that gives me words for the way I was feeling about a particular thing.

Brad Bond:

It's plain If the form is not spectacular on a piece of just pretty boring wood, you're not going to feel a connection to it.

Ricky B:

Yeah, so are there any secrets in the process of being able to get from point A to finished product, to where you don't have to bail so many times Because there are certain secrets you can say I can spot this. This is how you choose wood or whatever. What are some of the things that you have to go through in order to get a good product?

Brad Bond:

Yeah, the easiest way to do that is to buy kiln dried lumber, something that's stable. I can look at it. That's sort of what's on this shelf over here. I have kiln dried lumber that I've selected because now that it's dry I can see what's inside the wood. That unfortunately adds expense to the beginning. What I prefer to do, and what I've sort of been moving towards, is working with local arborists who are taking down trees either on commercial properties or residential properties. Usually that wood just gets chipped up and sent to the landfill. I don't feel awesome about that.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

If.

Brad Bond:

I can get in between them and just sort of insert myself in that process to try to harvest as much of it as I can. That's better. So I'll take the green wood, I'll rough, turn it, seal it with wax, put it away. The rule of thumb is one year of drying per inch of thickness.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

Oh, my goodness.

Brad Bond:

If I turn bulls this December, I'm looking at next Christmas before I can check them again. Oh, hold on.

Ricky B:

If you turn a bull this Christmas.

Brad Bond:

So I'll turn it roughly right. I'll remove 80 to 90% of the material. I want the wall thickness to be about 10% of the diameter of the bull overall. I'll seal the outside with wax anchor seal and then I literally put it in my shed and let it dry out for close to a year. Oh, my word, and it warps and twists and does all kinds of interesting things. A lot of them crack. I lose a lot of them that way, but upwards of 70% of them are salvageable.

Ricky B:

Wow Well how does?

Brad Bond:

yeah, I mean, that's a, and those you just get lucky, right You're just. That's off of a tree, off like a commercial lot in.

Gary Williams:

Union City, you have no idea, a lot of the time.

Brad Bond:

There are some things you can do to get a little bit clever with it. Like if you're looking at where two branches intersect we call that a crotch piece That'll generally at least have some sort of movement in the grain, like two pieces of wood have converged, so bigger branch wins but little branch has some influence on the grain direction, so you can get this kind of nice overlapping feather pattern.

Brad Bond:

What we would call feather grain. If a tree is like 40 to 50 inches diameter, you can fairly well expect some sort of compression figure in there. Which would be sort of like the tiger striping you see, in this walnut here. I really this is like trying to describe a motorcycle jump over AM radio.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

Have you ever seen a movie, hot Rod? Yeah, yeah, this is that's right, that's right yeah.

Brad Bond:

It sparkles like a tiger's eye because the wood has been compressed and moved and the grain is literally laying different ways at intervals. So big trees are great, crotch figure is great If you can find a burl. I mean, people have kind of figured out burls Like that's an open secret right now. Yeah, there's actually a show called burl hunters.

Ricky B:

These guys would just go into the forest and try to Interesting. Yeah, so explain what a burl is, just so that.

Brad Bond:

A burl is just an odd growth on a tree. I can be caused by a fungus or a genetic mutation or some sort of trauma to the tree, basically just like a big knobbly sort of protuberance that doesn't look like it belongs on the tree. Okay, and that's a good thing you like those things. That's a gold mine.

Ricky B:

Yeah, that's a gold mine Does that make it a challenge, though, because I have worked with even just basic tools. I was drilling something for my family.

Ricky B:

I was making a candle holder out of a piece of wood the other day and I had a drill with a paddle bit and I got onto a knot. That was obviously it adds a little bit of a variance to the texture than the rest of the piece, but it also was very, very hard to cut with that paddle bit initially. So I mean, you're saying it's a gold mine, but does it also make it more challenging?

Brad Bond:

in some ways 100%. When the grain is going every which way, it adds a lot of complexity to the turning and especially to the finishing process, because when you have the grain all running one direction, you can be pretty sure which tool, which bevel angle you're going to use to achieve an ideal cut without tearing the grain without pulling the grain out In a burl, it can be going 180 degrees within a matter of centimeters of 9 millimeters.

Brad Bond:

So basically it means a lot of sanding, but it also means that it's probably a piece that I can sell.

Ricky B:

So I'm still hungry for it. That's cool. That's cool. So you said you make right now as a hobby. You make three let me just start four to five, maybe pieces a week, if you can and then your primary place of selling these is where.

Brad Bond:

So I do go to the Niles market and Etsy, and then I have my own website.

Ricky B:

When people start to buy from you, they'll find, you, say, at the market, or they'll find you on Etsy or whatever, and then they keep coming back and they like what you do. Yeah, yeah, a lot of the time.

Brad Bond:

And that's encouraging. It can be tough on Etsy sometimes because, A it's a hyper competitive marketplace. B a lot of wood turners also retired old guys, so they're not looking to make a business out of it. So you're being constantly undercut by people who are just looking for something to do with their spare time. I like to think that I'm beating them in terms of quality and form and design and stuff like that, but it's still a problem.

Brad Bond:

If you just need a salad bowl and, like Dale from Arkansas, made one from 40 bucks, you're not going to come to me for one for 160. It's just classic challenges in the marketplace. And then it's expensive to acquire customers in credit online marketplaces as well, so it really encourages me to be on my game. Make sure that my finishes are nice, make sure that the pieces are solid and that they'll last for a lifetime so that when somebody turns over that same bowl six years from now Thanksgiving they see the logo I'm still online.

Ricky B:

It's something that people want to have in their home, as opposed to something that's kind of bot and tossed. That's great. I love it. You have individual pieces. Do you sell sets or do you have people asking for sets, like maybe four bowls or something like that?

Brad Bond:

I'll do custom nested sets if somebody asks me for them. I have some friends throughout the industry, some people who very specifically just make nested sets. They cut the nested sets, dry them and then I get to finish turn them at home. I've done a couple myself. I found that they didn't sell all that well at the markets. I kind of got tired of lugging around 16 super heavy bowls that I thought, maybe weren't going to go anywhere. If people ask, I'm happy to do them. I like it.

Brad Bond:

It's a bigger challenge making either four identical bowls or four bowls out of exactly the same log the grain. Lines up piece by piece.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

I think it's cool.

Brad Bond:

I find that most people are coming and looking for a salad bowl or a chip bowl or something more along those lines.

Ricky B:

That's cool. I think that it's interesting because I think COVID kind of prompted a lot of different things. There's the thing that everybody is doing, whether it's making sourdough bread or learning pottery or whatever.

Brad Bond:

Crying in your shower. That's right. People don't get it stuff.

Ricky B:

That's right. There's a number of things that people found that they enjoyed doing. One of the things that I have appreciated it's that there was kind of the industrial age or maybe after the industrial age, not talking about the grand industrial age but, there was a time at least, when I was growing up in my home, in the place where I was, paper plates were the thing, paper cups were the things.

Ricky B:

It was a lot of. Everything was disposable. You bought it. You didn't buy it at a high price, you bought it at a low price because you're just going to get rid of it.

Brad Bond:

Somebody had mechanized convenience and made it available to you.

Ricky B:

That's exactly right. There's so much out there now of fast food, fast clothing, fast whatever, because people buy things with the intention of wearing it for a couple of times and then they're just going to get rid of it. What I found is that there's this turning in our culture where people are actually interested For me. I have a mug that I like drinking my coffee out of regularly. I do have a drawer full of mugs at my house, but I find myself picking a particular one that was handmade. Buy a particular person or whatever.

Ricky B:

I'm just like I love that mug. I don't even know why I have the other mugs. I probably just wasted my money and wasted some other business's time and buying that or whatever. I guess what I'm getting down to is I do think that what you're doing actually provides a healthy push in a good direction. That is not just valuing the art of the work that you do, but also encouraging people to say hey, instead of just looking for convenience and throwing stuff away, look at things that are beautiful, things that are useful, things that are made with care. I think people are hungry for that.

Ricky B:

I think that you're right.

Brad Bond:

I think that we get a lot of immediacy pushed on us.

Gary Williams:

We're in Silicon Valley right now.

Brad Bond:

This is the place where we try to make everything faster and easier and cheaper if we can. I think people can get overwhelmed with that. I don't need to go into all the demographic and statistical data on this, but by and large it seems like we're feeling more alone, more disconnected from our peers, especially if you're in my age group typically you don't own your home.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

None of this is really yours. All of this feels very temporary.

Brad Bond:

I think that there's a hunger for connection to other people, but also to objects like not having somebody else make these decisions at you via marketing, but to make a conscious decision about the objects that you surround yourself with the things that you use, keeping that leather wallet for 40 years because it bears the marks of your use. We found my grandfather's Zippo Lider in my dad's desk drawer a couple years ago.

Brad Bond:

He had worn off the nickel plating finish on it down to the brass, because that was exactly how he used it. Even though smoking killed him, I still thought it was a really, really cool object because it bore the marks of his use.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

That was exactly how he used it, I think that there's something really really cool about that.

Brad Bond:

I also think that there's something of value to a community that chooses to support somebody who is looking to obtain mastery of craft.

Ricky B:

That's great, that's great.

Brad Bond:

I think that the value goes beyond, like we all get nice bowls or nice shoes or whatever it is. I think that there is substantial cultural value in being able to support somebody through the beginning stages of something, because the eventuality reflects well on the community.

Ricky B:

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The Fremont Podcast Team:

Do you know what else? Shopping online for books is bad at Finding the book next to the book that you want. Now the online stores are going to make believe that they can do that for you through suggestions, but it is not the same, and finding the book next to the book that you came in for is one of the best feelings you can have in a bookstore. So go go to Bantor Bookshop, find the book you were looking for and the book next to it.

Ricky B:

I love that. I think that. I think, yeah, it doesn't standardize everything to everything that's out there in the world. This is out of my community. This is out of the place where I'm invested, where I live, and I do feel that way. I have candles that have been made from candle makers here in Fremont and when I light that candle, I think of that person. I feel like it's from home.

Brad Bond:

It's from the place that I oh, my goodness, that's such an important point because we're all kind of in a weird non-tribal living situation. This all used to be multi-generational housing. You were a fisherman, your dad was a fisherman his dad was a fisherman. We've all kind of lost that we're all, especially my generation we're all expected to have sort of four to five mini-careers. None of this is permanent, and so to find something that kind of ties you to the place where you are the place where you're trying to put down your roots.

Brad Bond:

I think is really important.

Ricky B:

I love that. I love that. Yeah, I think that's one of the things that I actually really love about the city of Fremont, and that is in spite of the fact it has some weird statistics that are almost contradictory. It's like it's the fourth largest city in the Bay Area, but it doesn't feel large.

Ricky B:

It feels like Hayward might be larger than Fremont, or it feels like Palo Alto might be larger than Fremont, but Fremont is in fact right under Oakland. We're the fourth largest city in the Bay Area. We don't even have, I mean, the Fremont Bank is building, the largest building in the city. It makes everything else in the city look small because it's this massive monstrosity of a building and you have other cities around the Bay Area that have bigger buildings. You cross the San Mateo Bridge and you go down in there and there's big buildings right there and yet our city's still bigger than those particular cities. So we have a lot of small town fields, absolutely yeah, but it's interesting too the more people that I get to know, especially yourself or people like even I think of Niles Candle Company down here. She works a full-time job and unfortunately her husband, who she started that business with, passed away last year.

Ricky B:

But she works a full-time job and yet she did that because it was a dream that they had together to start that candle company, and now it's embedded into who we are as a community. And so I do think that it is the small businesses, the makers that live within the city that are doing what you're doing, that are helping keep the personality of the city alive. They keep it unique to keep it special.

Ricky B:

And I think that that's important. I think it's important. I love the fact that what you said encourages there's an encouragement to support what's happening where you are.

Brad Bond:

Oh, absolutely. I feel that so deeply. My wife will kind of get mad at me when we're walking through craft fairs and stuff like that. I'll pick something up and I'll be like, look, this isn't good yet, but this guy is two years away from being good and I know what he needs to buy to get from here to there, and so I'm going to plunk down some cash and help him get there, because the value of having him be great at this later is more important than the 20 or 40 bucks in my pocket.

Ricky B:

That's great. That's great. Wow, I think people wanted to find out more about what you're doing. You have an Instagram that I love to follow and you show some really great stuff on there. So the Instagram is Qbranch Woodworks. That's it Okay, and then they can find your website through that as well. Yeah, exactly.

Brad Bond:

I have a little link tree on my Instagram that'll pretty much give you everything. My YouTube is bad because video editing is hard and takes so many more hours than I have.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

That's right.

Brad Bond:

Basically, I'll just put a camera on a stick and show you what it takes to make a bowl. There's not too much special to it, but if sometimes you get lucky and if you buy a bowl for me, I have a video on how it was made which I think is kind of neat.

Ricky B:

Yeah, I love that, and if people wanted to buy from you, they have the website. But how often are you at the Niles Market or other markets around town?

Brad Bond:

I try to go to the Niles Market monthly. That's been my thing. I have a little bit of a family health scenario, right now. So my time and attention are a bit more divided than they were even like a month ago, and you have a full-time job.

Brad Bond:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, it's just, it's how it goes, but I try to get out about once a month. If I take a tree down, well, I'm not cutting down the trees, but if I work with an arborist who takes down a local tree. I try to post that on Nextdoor just because I love the idea that that tree kind of stays in the neighborhood.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

That's cool yeah.

Brad Bond:

I sold a couple of Black Acacia pieces to people in Fremont from a tree that came down on Niles Boulevard.

Gary Williams:

I remember those big storms we had last year.

Brad Bond:

Tree came down and I was driving by in my truck and I saw and I literally just like hopped the curb, popped out my chain, so I took as much of it, as I could. And I think I have two more pieces drawing, but other than that, all of them stayed in Fremont which I think is really cool.

Ricky B:

That's really cool. Yeah, wow, what are some of the things. How long have you lived in Fremont?

Brad Bond:

Coming up on three years now.

Ricky B:

Okay, and have you, what do you think about Fremont? Do you enjoy living here? I love it. I mean, my wife grew up here. She was over in Irvington so she knew the area.

Brad Bond:

It wasn't necessarily on my radar. I grew up in South San Jose, like Oak Grove, san Atresa area. My folks moved into Almedin and then I, just as like a young bachelor, I lived in Los Gatos, in Santa Clara and a couple other places. Fremont wasn't necessarily on my radar. I'd come back here to visit my wife's parents a number of times and I liked it, but I didn't have a super strong opinion of it. And then when we were looking at this house, we went to Niles to meet with the real estate agent and I was like okay, this this is cute right here.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

This is awesome yeah.

Brad Bond:

This has kind of small town appeal, and then you drive four miles the other way and you're kind of right back in the thick of it.

The Fremont Podcast Team:

You're on 880, you got donuts.

Brad Bond:

California pizza kitchen, like all the ethnic food you could ever possibly want. You still get all of the amenities while still I can like take my kid in a stroller and walk down past the library that's only open for like 30 minutes a week to like the ice cream shop I can go find like a 1961 GI Joe action figure and all the crazy antique shops.

Brad Bond:

It just feels like a cool place to raise a family, and I love the people too. It's. One of my favorite parts about selling at that market is that you can meet young families who have sort of just moved in. But the old guard of Fremont and Niles are some of my favorite people because it's like you can meet like a guy who's a machinist for 45 years on the line.

Brad Bond:

And then, like a legitimate, was there at Woodstock, hippie in purple glasses, you know and then like just everybody that I met is so nice and yeah, just I like getting to be a part of the community because I didn't always feel that in places that I live before, but especially with you know, niles is sort of the the anchor or the focal point of our immediate area right, yeah. It just all feels very connected.

Ricky B:

Yeah, that's great. Yeah, and for anybody who hasn't found it yet, just a quick shout out to the cast of Niles podcast, because we I don't I don't host that, but I produce it and we we focus specifically on the people that he was just talking about in Niles. So if you want to hear some of the stories of the old guard of Niles that are still here or they have, you know, family members from generations before that we're here Then that's a that's a great podcast to listen to, but, yeah, that's really cool. Well, so, thank you for your time and and our. Do you expect I'm? You know you obviously Said that things have kind of grown and you would do a whole lot more. Do you ever expect this would be something more of a full-time thing, or that's what are you thinking?

Brad Bond:

That's my goal. I have sort of a loose five to seven year plan for how I would like this to go. I've started teaching classes sort of here and there. My goal is to be more up and running by like March of 2024, partially as user education, because I don't think that the public understands what a Rose engine is right, this the super ornate like 15 and 1600s technology that I've kind of replicated here.

Brad Bond:

Wow, so it's. It's a chance to kind of expose people to that, Give them a chance to get their hands dirty. But can I? Can I tell you the full vision? Please, yeah, oh yeah, yeah, I want to hear it storefront in Niles where there's this sort of it's like the reverse of a bay window. Okay like the windows goes in towards a glass door and I want to put a. Lay them one of those corners. Turn bowls there. Okay, sell them out of there like their sandwiches like that.

Ricky B:

That would be the goal. That is cool.

Brad Bond:

It's it's local timber, you get to watch it being made and you take it home that day. I love it that through line of connection to the piece.

Ricky B:

I love it.

Brad Bond:

That that would be the ultimate for me. I I Don't know how like financially feasible yeah, it will turn out to be. But that's, that's my dream and I hope that at some point I can like take a break from my job and just pick up like a six-month lease and just see if it Works that's awesome.

Ricky B:

I love it. Well, I think, I think that I've had a similar vision for the podcast, and I don't know exactly where the podcast is gonna end up. But I, there was a, there was a Space in Niles that came open and I was like, oh my goodness, this is like my dream Spot like and not that I want it to be, not that it's about the aesthetics, because we don't need I don't even do video right now. I've, I've been strongly encouraged by people to do video, but I don't do video right now. And but I thought, man, how cool would it be just to be able to sit here, put some nice leather chairs in front of this window, look out at the hills and just be able to have a conversation and talk about you know the free, you know free mon, or whatever it is. And I just, I just thought, man, this would be, this would be so awesome.

Brad Bond:

I'm bringing the coffee and cigars. You get it.

Ricky B:

That's awesome. That's great. Well, I hope that the dream comes true, man. I hope that likewise man, I hope that whatever needs to happen in order for you to be able to, you know, to follow that dream and to make it a reality, I hope it. I hope it all takes place.

Brad Bond:

Thank you, I really appreciate it and thanks for having me on.

Ricky B:

Yeah.

Brad Bond:

I was telling my wife before I got out here, like I have to do this. This is the first piece of media that I haven't created from absolutely nothing myself. I'm going to go.

Ricky B:

That's awesome. I'm taking this. I love it. I really appreciate it. Well, it's a privilege to have you on. I've been wanting to have you on for a long time and and now it's happened. So thank you so much for being here.

Brad Bond:

Thank you yeah.

Gary Williams:

This episode was hosted and produced by Ricky B. I'm Gary Williams. Scheduling and pre interviews by Sarah S. Andrew Kovett is the editor. If you would please leave a review on iTunes. Your reviews help other people find this podcast. Be sure to subscribe wherever it is that you listen so you don't miss an episode. You can find everything we make the podcast and all of our social media links at the Fremont podcast com. Join us next week on the Fremont podcast.

Ricky B:

If you have enjoyed this podcast, consider Supporting it with a small gift at buy me a coffee. Comm slash the Fremont podcast. Thank you for your support and thanks for listening. This is a Muggins media podcast.

Woodturning
Woodturning and Podcasting
Woodworking Journey and Creative Process
Handmade Goods and Community Support
Connecting With the Fremont Community