A Life Built on Bookmarks
A modest woodworking business thrives on efficiency and ingenuity
Synopsis: Alan Bradstreet makes a comfortable living by working very small and selling very cheap — in very large numbers. He combines the attributes of a hard-headed businessman, an enlightened foreman, and an untiring worker. Though he’s made other pieces in the past, now he is all about bookmarks and nothing else. One efficiency: his shop runs on scraps. Read more to find out his recipe for success in woodworking, and how to find excellence in the smallest of details.
If a Newport secretary contains a waterfall of woodwork, then one of Alan Bradstreet’s wooden bookmarks holds barely a droplet. Then again, it might take one person the better part of a year to build a full-bore secretary; in the same 12 months, Bradstreet, who works alone in a small shop, would have stacked up 50,000 of his handsome bookmarks.
Bradstreet, 54, moved to Maine in the 1970s and found his…