This Built America


I came across a cool website recently that Ford put together.  It’s called This Built America, and it features stories about Americans making great products we all can buy to support members of our extended American family.

In the coming weeks on the blog, I will be featuring stories about Americans who have put their hopes and energy into creating products and stories about Americans who are making those products.  I have done a few posts like this in the past, but I will be providing a steady diet of American stories that I hope you will enjoy.

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Today is the first of the two World Cup semis, and I will be rooting whole heartedly for the Germans.  As you can see from the three stars on Bastian Schweinsteiger’s jersey, Die Mannschaft have won the World Cup three times (1954, 1974 and 1990).  My money is on them to win it all again this week after they dispatch Brazil this afternoon.  It would help if Schweini could slot home a goal or two.


Aside from producing amazing soccer players, German also makes amazing cars.  And some of the most amazing German cars are made by members of our extended American family in Greer, South Carolina.  All BMW X series cars are manufactured in Greer.  X3s, X5s and X6s are made in Greer and BMW just announced plans to invest $1 billion in the Greer plant and produce two new X series cars: the bigger X7 and the midsized X4.  This expansion will create 800 more jobs at the Greer plant, brining total employment to 8,800.  I like the sound of that.  800 new jobs for Americans who want the opportunity to work to support their families.

BMW has been making their SUVs in South Carolina for twenty years.  According to the article linked above, BMW workers at the Greer plant produced 300,000 X series vehicles last year, and after the expansion, they will make 450,000 vehicles a year by 2016.  By that time, Greer will be BMW’s largest plant anywhere on the globe.  More than 2.6 million X series vehicles have rolled off the Greer assembly line in the past two decades.  A University of South Carolina study found BMW and its suppliers are directly responsible for more than 30,000 jobs in the state, or more than 1 percent of South Carolina’s total workforce.

So do your part.  If you are in the market for an SUV, consider the X series vehicles.  Want something smaller?  The X3 is for you.


If you have more kiddos or dogs, the X5 is probably the car for you.


But if you want the coolest SUV on the road, splurge and get an X6.  Wow, that is a nice ride.


So no matter which X series BMW you buy, you will know two things.  First, you are getting an amazing vehicle.  Second, that vehicle was built by members of our extended American family working in Greer, South Carolina and their lives will be directly benefitted by your choice to buy an X series car.  So right after the game today, head out to your nearest BMW dealership and snap up an X series SUV of your choice.  And yes, as you drive it off the lot, you have my permission to open the window and scream:






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Just in time for the Fourth of July!


There are a lot of great people out there working to put Americans to work by encouraging us to buy products made by member of our extended American family.  Guys like Jack A., Todd Lipscomb and Don Buckner.  Gals like Sarah Mazzone, Sarah Wagner and Amy.  Well I came across a great contest currently being run by Made in America MovementMAM’s contest concerns that most American of concerns, BBQ.  You only have until June 24th to enter, so do not dilly dally.  I have done a few posts on BBQ before, but I was delighted to see that several American manufacturing firms that are sponsors of MAM’s contest were new to me.  Here are three that are definitely worth getting to know.

Ohio Flame

Ohio Flame makes all sorts of things you need for outdoor fires and outdoor cooking.  I really like their Patriot Fire Pit,


their lunar fire bowl,

ohio flame lunar fire bowl

and their fireplace tongs.

Ohio flame tongs

Case Knives

I have done a few posts on knives, but I hadn’t heard of Case knives until today.  Which proves I am no genius since the Case brothers have been making fine knives in Bradford, Pennsylvania since 1889.  Today, Case is owned by Zippo Manufacturing Company, makers of the world-famous Zippo® windproof lighter, which is also based in Bradford.

Case makes all sorts of very cool knives.  I think I am going to have to get one of their pocket knives.


Case knives for the kitchen look really durable and have great wooden handles.  The Case Block with six knives and a steel looks like it would fit the bill.

case seven knife block

Icehole Coolers

icehole cooler

Nothing is more essential to a good BBQ than sufficient numbers of frosty beverages  In order to ensure they stay frosty, you need an Icehold Cooler.  Man this thing looks indestructible.  Icehole coolers are made in Kerrville, Texas by an American business that for over 35 years has been supplying the U.S. Military with products and accessories for a broad array of combat vehicles and equipment. So they put the knowhow they gained from supplying products to our military into making the best cooler on the market.  All the components in your Icehold cooler are made by members of our extended American family.  So the next time you and a few of your friends hop in your vehicle of choice for a weekend outing,



make sure you don’t forget your Icehole cooler.

So time is running short.  Enter MAM’s contest today.  You might win.  But even if you don’t win, you can still make this Independence Day live up to its name.  When you are out buying products for your Fourth of July party, make sure they are made by members of our extended American family.  With your purchases of American made goods, you will be declaring your independence from our huge trade deficit, from a further loss of manufacturing jobs and from a reliance on products that might actually harm you, your family or your friends.

So get shopping!


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The real reason children cry

crying baby

This bambino is crying.  But it’s not colic.  He is sad.  He is sad because the bedding he is laying in is made in some third world country by children who are not much older than him.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  All his parents have to do is start buying his bedding from Caden Lane.

Caden Lane sells everything your little one needs for his crib, and it’s all made by members of our extended American family.  Your baby might like Caden Lane’s Lemon Drop Baby Bedding.

caden lane girl

Or perhaps your baby’s taste runs more to Caden Lane’s Blue and Gray Peacock Baby Bedding.

caden lane boy

Or Caden Lane’s Bright Baby Green Crib Bedding might be the cat’s meow.

caden lane bright_baby_green_on_turq__31659_1373895556_1280_1280Whatever Caden Lane bedding you get, you will sleep soundly knowing that your purchase helped provide employment for a member of our extended American family.  And your baby will sleep soundly knowing that no child in a third world country had to forgo going to school in order to make his crib bedding.  When it comes to explaining why it is a good idea for him to eat his vegetables, you are on your own.

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Mirror mirror on the wall; wait, you’re a television!


I am in the process of rolling out a new website that will be a resource for Americans who want to build or remodel their homes using building materials, appliances, furniture and furnishings made by members of our extended American family.  In doing research for that website, I came across Seura.  Seura manufactures a wide range of products in Green Bay Wisconsin.  Most of them have something to do with televisions and mirrors, and all their products seem very slick.

Tim and Gretchen Gilbertson founded Seura in their garage in 2003.  What started small has become pretty big.  Seura produces a whole line of products.  They make mirrors that look like very nice mirrors most of the time, but when you really need to know who won the Rangers-Kings game in overtime while you are putting on your makeup, you press a button on your remote and a portion of the mirror becomes a cutting edge tv.


I do a lot of cooking and am a slave to recipes.  That usually involves a piece of paper with the recipe sitting somewhere on the counter getting in the way of the cutting board.  Segura’s Hydra waterproof flat panel tv would solve that problem.  You can display your recipe or even play videos of how to make your recipe while you are making it.  Nice.


Finally, Seura also makes beautiful lighted mirrors for any room.  This one would be good to remind your kids what to do in the bathroom.

seura lighted mirrors

While this one is a bit more whimsical.

seura lighted border mirror

You can even design your own lighted border for your Seura mirror.

Seura also provides a wide range of cool frames for any Seura mirror.

Seura Frame

So if you are building or remodeling your house and want to have the best mirrors for any room in your house, get in touch with Tim and Gretchen Gilbertson of Seura.  You will have the slickest mirrors in the neighborhood and you will be providing work for members of our extended American family working at Seura in Green Bay Wisconsin.  Let’s just say that buying Seura products will reflect well on you.

I wonder if I got a Seura mirror, if the vision looking back at me each morning might look better than this?


Hey the Gilbertsons make a great mirror but let’s face it, they aren’t miracle workers!

Now get shopping!

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Important news I forgot to tell you about


It has been a crazy couple of weeks and I have not had time to do any posting.  So here are a bunch of Made in America tidbits I wanted to let you know about.

Cooking with Gas


If you are in the market for appliances made by members of our extended American family, you now have some more choices.  Electrolux recently began shipping ranges and cook tops from its cutting edge factory in Memphis, Tennessee.

Drill baby, Drill!


With Father’s Day on the horizon, you are probably on the look out for gifts for the old fella.  Well if he likes tools, consider buying him something from Dewalt’s “Tools of the Brave” collection, which are made by members of our extended American family at Dewalt’s plant in Charlotte.

Take a seat!


If you are in the market for solid oak furniture, you need look no further than the Georgia Chair Company.  Georgia Chair turned 100 this year and Harry Bagwell II is the third generation of Bagwell at the helm.

The wheels on the bike go round and round


If you want a super fast bike, the Dimond Triathlon bike is right up your alley.   The bike is built by members of our extended American family at Dimond’s new 11,000 square foot facility in Des Moines, IA.  As to the $6000 price tag, well as they say, fast is never cheap.

Beating them at their own game

chinese ping pong

Everyone knows the Chinese are mad about ping-pong.  And sadly, most of the ping-pong paddles you can buy are made in the Middle Kingdom.  But now you have an American made paddle option.  PaddleYou now makes custom ping-pong paddles in the fine State of New York.  You can get ping-pong paddles that have the picture of whatever you want on the face of the paddle.  Like your dog.

dog smiling

Or your team.


It’s up to you.

So now you know about lots of useful items and gifts you can purchase that will help members of our extended American family keep bringing home that paycheck.  If we make American made products our default purchases, we can create demand that will lead to lots of unemployed Americans getting back to work and supporting their families.  Not a bad idea, if I do say so myself.

So get shopping!



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A classic American success story

David-Stine Furniture

Every once in a while I meet an American craftsman whose story I just feel compelled to tell.  David Stine is one of those craftsman.  Last June I was honored to be invited to appear on a panel about American made furniture at the Dwell on Design conference in Los Angeles.  After the panel discussion was over, I wandered around the conference center looking at the myriad of products on display.  I turned a corner and saw a fella standing next to one of the most beautiful dining room tables I had ever seen in my life.  I introduced myself to David Stine, and then proceeded to blather on for a minute or two about my passion for products made by members of our extended American family.  After I was done blathering, David told me that he happened to be an American and he had made the table I was admiring.  I told him how much I liked it and David said he was glad I appreciated his work.

Since last June David and I have had a couple of chats, and I told him how I have become very interested in storytelling as the medium for promoting American made products.  I asked David if he might be willing to share his story with me and my readers.  He agreed and with the help of David’s amazing partner in furniture Stephanie Abbajay, I can share it with you today.  I hope you enjoy it.

David Stine, David Stine Woodworking

I’m a craftsman.  A furniture maker. I craft one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture using wood that I harvest and saw myself from my family’s 500 acres in Illinois.  I am the fourth generation to steward my family’s land. The woods are both the source of my lumber and the source of my design inspiration. Being so close to the wood—from growing it to harvesting it to milling it—informs my work in the most natural, harmonious way, and this is reflected in the natural designs of my work, where I let the wood speak for itself.  My furniture represents the finest in traditional American craftsmanship, sustainability, and integrity. That’s how I live my life, and that’s how I run my business.


I was born and raised on the land from which I now harvest my timber. My grandfather and uncles were dairy farmers. We worked on the farm with our hands every day, doing whatever needed to be done: mending fences, harvesting corn, fixing tractors, chopping firewood, milking cows.

My grandfather and father taught me to work with wood. We repaired furniture and fences, and we built tables and cabinets, bookcases and beds. I fell in love with working with my hands and crafting with wood. I loved taking something so simple and commonplace—a piece of wood­—and crafting something beautiful and useful from it.

Woodworking gave me great joy as a child and as a young man. That joy never left me, even when I moved away from the farm to attend Penn State, where I majored in political science. After college, I moved to Washington, D.C. for law school at the George Washington University.

I missed creating things and working with my hands, so while I was a law student I started a little side company, David Stine Woodworking, in 1995. I went back to the farm and returned to D.C. with tools and some lumber. I worked out of a friend’s warehouse, crafting humidors, little tables, and small items. It was the perfect complement to the long hours I spent reading law and being in class. It grounded and nurtured me.

After I graduated from law school I worked as a trust and estates attorney, but woodworking kept calling to me. Every night after work and on weekends I would be in my wood shop.  After 18 months of practicing law, I realized that I was miserable, that working with wood was my passion and my calling. It was the only thing I wanted to do. So, in 1998, with $90,000 in law school debt and the blessing of my wife, I quit my law job and devoted myself full-time to woodworking. It was the greatest decision of my life.


Four or five times a year I would travel back to my family’s farm in Illinois to cut timber, mill boards, rotate my stock, and bring lumber back. This was a crucial part of my process. From the beginning I knew I wanted to use only native hardwoods in my work, and that I wanted to use only timber that I sustainably harvested myself from my own land. This was an essential component of my work, and my clients appreciated this. “Green” and “sustainability” weren’t buzzwords back then, but that is how I have always run my company. Word quickly spread that there was a custom woodworker who was dedicated to both the craft and to a different way of doing things. My roster of clients grew so much that I quickly outgrew my woodshop. I had gotten bigger, but my ethos never changed.

In 2002, my wife and I decided to leave DC and move back to Illinois, where we could be near family and the land that I love so much, land that I care about and cultivate, land that is the source of my lumber and the source of my inspiration.  We bought a 40-acre farm near my family’s farm. We renovated an 1871 farmhouse and installed a woodshop, kiln, sawmill, studio, and many seasoning sheds. We’ve been there ever since.

My business has grown tremendously over the years, and I have clients from the Hamptons to LA. But I’ve never changed the way I do things: by hand, one piece at a time, and with sustainability as the cornerstone of my work.  While others pay lip service to being green, I live it every day. That’s how I run my business. I steward my land. I sustainably harvest my materials or use sustainably sourced wood from local arborists. I heat my house and shop with wood scraps. We raise the feed on our farm for my uncles’ herds. I don’t use imported woods or veneers. I don’t use toxic chemicals. David Stine Woodworking has always been green.


And it all starts in the woods. I walk the land. I draw strength and inspiration from the trees, by how and where they grow. As I mill the logs, every cut is a revelation as I see the inner life and extraordinary beauty of the wood. Often, as I mill a board I see immediately what I will build, what the wood will become. I don’t try to bend the wood to my will. Rather, I let it be what it wants to be, and my designs maximize the raw, singular, natural beauty of the wood—graining, knots, live edges, and all.

I handcraft each piece myself, one at a time, using traditional methods of joinery and construction. Many of my tools and equipment are from the 19th century (when I say I’m old fashioned I mean it!). Every piece I craft is the articulation of the natural beauty of that tree, which lives on as a beautiful and useful object, one that can grace a home for a lifetime and beyond.

Mine is a different sort of craftsmanship, one that’s infused with tradition, sustainability, integrity, and history. It’s about taking my spirit and passion and putting it into something, something bigger and more important than the bottom line. It’s not just craftsmanship; it’s a way of life. That’s the story of David Stine Woodworking.

If you would like to speak with David about having him build you a piece of furniture, give him a call at 618-954-8636.  You can also email David at  I urge you to visit his website, it’s amazing.


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