BYNG — A school project inspired Adam Cable to launch a small business specializing in custom cutting boards.

About a year ago, Adam, a 10th-grader who lives in Byng but attends Vanoss High School, made a cutting board for his wood shop class. He took the finished board home to his mother, Alisha Cable, who realized that her son’s skills could be the starting point for a business.

“Mom loved it and she’s like, ‘Hey, you could sell these,’” Adam said. “So we got this little idea. And so we went and bought a little planer. Dad already had the miter saw over there, and then we went and bought some rough-cut cedar. And we bought a table saw as well.”

After Adam had the equipment he needed, the family ran an extension cord from their house down to a nearby pecan tree, which provided shade so Adam could work out of the bed of his father’s truck.

And with that, AWC Woodcrafts was born.

Creating cutting boards

Today, Adam juggles his schoolwork and extracurricular activities with the business of making custom cutting boards. He has moved his operation from the shade of a pecan tree to a small wood shop.

Whenever Adam begins a new cutting board, he chooses a plank of wood and cuts it into smaller strips, then planes the edges to make them smooth and easier to fit together. After planing the pieces of wood, he glues and clamps them together.

Adam’s parents, Alisha and Allen Cable, help him produce the cutting boards. Allen helps Adam work in his wood shop, and Alisha applies resin to the boards. Adam’s friend Zach Sanders helps out on a part-time basis.

Adam said his favorite part of the process comes when he oils a finished board, because the oil makes the colors pop. After the oil dries, he uses a buffer to shine the board before attaching feet to it, wrapping it and shipping it to the customer.

Adam, who advertises and sells his products on Facebook, estimated that he has produced more than 1,000 custom cutting boards so far and shipped them to customers across the United States and overseas. He said he enjoys making something that will appeal to customers.

“It’s a lot of fun making cutting boards,” Adam said. “You’ve got to get real creative on different designs, because we don’t make a cutting board the exact same every time.”

He said his products are different from mass-produced cutting boards, which don’t have the same level of detail and don’t allow customers to use their own designs. In addition, every board that Adam produces has his own brand — AWC — on it.

Adam’s mother, Alisha, said she enjoys watching her son take a piece of what looks like firewood, smooth out the rough edges and turn it into a cutting board.

“The process of going from something that dull — that cracked, warped, whatever — and him putting it through his different machines and almost forcing the wood to be straight, smooth and level,” she said. “He makes it be what he wants it to be and them clamps it. It looks better, but it’s still pretty rough.

“And then when you end with this, that’s extraordinarily satisfying.”

Two of Adam’s pieces — a cutting board with an inlaid turkey feather, and another cutting board decorated with streaks of blue resin — were drying on a table in his family’s kitchen. Adam achieved the streaking effect by coloring the resin, pouring the colored resin into cavities in the wood, finishing the piece and adding a coat of clear resin.

Adam’s father, Allen, said people who buy a cutting board from AWC Woodcrafts are surprised when they learn more about the person who made it.

“When they see the board and realize it’s a 17-year-old — or a 16-year-old when he started — high school student making these, they’re blown away,” he said. “People when they see it, they want to support a high school student trying to build a business and make something.

“And that’s been phenomenal.”

Using his talents

In addition to running his business, Adam has used his talents to help other people by making cutting boards for various fundraisers. For instance, he recently made a cutting board for a benefit to help the family of Rhindi Isaacs, a Konawa Junior High School softball player who was recently killed in a head-on collision.

Alisha said she was glad that her son is willing to lend a hand to people who need it.

“That’s what makes me so proud of him, because that’s not even something he discusses,” she said. “It’s not because he’s ashamed of it; it’s because it’s innate in him. He’s not looking for a lot of glory on that.

“You know it’s from the heart when it’s something like that.”

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.