Made at theCO: Brandon Lawson


Have you ever been somewhere around town and seen a piece of furniture or decoration that you really like but that completely breaks the bank in price? Brandon Lawson knows what that’s like. When he saw a rustic American flag hanging at a local business in Jackson and was deterred by the price tag, he decided he would build his own. He started in his kitchen, chiseling out stars by hand, until he had his own wooden flag.

Brandon became a member at theCO two and a half months ago because he had heard about the CNC router in the makerspace.

“Family members and friends saw my flag and wanted one, but I needed a less time-consuming way to do it,” Brandon says. “The CNC router is the best thing for that because, instead of doing all the stars by hand, I just program it in and let it work.”

Depending on the size of the flag, the stars can take a while to make. The largest flags are five feet wide and tend to take an hour and twenty minutes for the CNC router to cut out, while smaller flags take closer to thirty minutes. Since Brandon has a full-time job, the speed of the CNC router makes it easier for Brandon to increase the number of flags that he can produce.

“I work up to seventy hours a week at my job,” he explained. “So being able to come to theCO and make these flags is kind of relaxing. And it’s really taken off.”

Brandon has few competitors in Jackson, and, like others, he knows how expensive rustic American flags can be.

“I went to Lowe’s and picked up supplies and made it in my kitchen. And I made it for considerably cheaper. The five-foot flags I’m able to sell for $250,” he said.

The process of building the flag can be complex, depending on what the customer wants.

“First I use a piece of craft wood. If I do a poplar wood or a pine wood, I can buy a piece big enough to do the star section,” Brandon explained. “If I’m doing an oak or a maple, then I have to make the piece. I take one-by-four pieces of wood and actually glue it together and sand it down.”

The star section of the flag can take a considerable amount of time since Brandon may have to piece together wood to make a section big enough, as well as cut out the stars with the CNC router. The stripes are made from individually cut pieces of wood.

“I burn the pieces to get that rustic look,” he said. “It really pulls the grain out, so it’s a lot prettier. I don’t always burn the wood though, because I have different styles. Then I stain them, and, if it’s a smaller flag, I wood glue it and clamp it. But if it’s a bigger piece, then I actually screw them together to give it more stability.”

Brandon also does custom orders and recently finished a flag for a navy veteran. By using the laser etcher, he engraved the US Navy seal into a small piece of wood and sank it into acrylic coating the flag.

See Brandon’s work here, and stop by theCO to make your next project!