Teacher by day, woodcarver by night

Teacher by day, woodcarver by night


SALISBURY, N.C. – A high school teacher in North Carolina is usually busy this time of the year, crafting unique gifts for the holidays.


What You Need To Know

  • Brad Taylor teaches woodworking at South Rowan High School
  • Taylor makes and sells items like cutting boards through his business Compass Woodworking Co.
  • One of his favorite projects is creating what he calls “memento boards”

Brad Taylor was a middle school science teacher for 19 years, and he now teaches woodworking at South Rowan High School.

“Being in there with those kids and being able to pass something on and teach them how to do something is awesome,” Taylor said.

When Taylor gets home from school, he heads to his garage and continues to work with wood for several hours.

He makes and sells items like cutting boards through his business Compass Woodworking Co.

Taylor says it began while he was in the middle of re-doing his deck at home about five years ago.

“I had a lot of walnut and cherry and some other odd-end woods, and I was like ‘I’m going to make one of those cutting boards,’” Taylor said. “I made one for my wife, and she loved it and then my mom said I want one and it kind of snowballed from there.”

Since then, Taylor says he’s made over 2,000 cutting boards. Each holiday season, he sets up shop at the Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte.

 “I’ve gotten a lot of contacts from there,” Taylor said. “I’ve gotten people that remember that ‘hey you’re the one that does the recipe boards.’”

One of his favorite projects is creating what he calls “memento boards.” People give Taylor cherished items, like family recipes to be scanned on a wood board inside an engraving machine. 

“I have seen them with tape marks, I’ve seen them with smudges and stuff spilled on top of them,” Taylor said. “Sometimes I’ll clean that stuff up but sometimes it adds to the character of what goes on the board.”

Taylor says he enjoys watching the laser burn the recipe into the board and create a permanent keepsake.

“It’s nice to be able to pass that along to a grandkid or a daughter or somebody that would love to have a family recipe, but not get an original copy,” said Taylor.

Taylor says each board allows him to share in the joy of preserving memories. 

“It’s really neat to be able to do something that’s going to mean something to somebody,” Taylor said. “I like doing that with everything I’ve done. … You kind of want to pass something on, and it’s one of the things that helps me do that.” 

Taylor says most of the wood he uses comes from North Carolina. He hopes to open a storefront once he retires from teaching. 

To learn more about Taylor’s projects, visit his Compass Woodworks Co. website.



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