U.S. Navy 1st Class Petty officer Xavier Chavez was swayed by his wife to create a growth chart for their 2-year-old son out of wood. Like many people in this age, he watched a few YouTube tutorials. After bringing together some leftover scrap wood and his self-taught knowledge, he had created his first project.
Soon after his growth project got some attention and as a “thank you” for a friend Chavez used his wood making skills to create an American flag. He didn’t foresee his flag making skills to take off like they did but his random DIY project has slowly evolved into a small business. Toiling away in his garage on weekends and after duty from his full-time Navy job, making the flags is no easy task. From purchasing the wood to the final sealing, these handcrafted items takes about a week to complete. What’s even more impressive is Chavez locally delivers each flag himself.
“I truly enjoy doing the delivery, I love seeing their reactions. That’s my reward. It is therapeutic when you’re making it but that extra reward is seeing the person get their flag for the first time,” said Chavez.
His quickest turn around for a flag? 12 hours! In true military fashion, he was tasked with creating a flag for a retiring warrant officer. He had to make one from scratch and at the end of his workday, he, alongside his work partner, worked through the night and finished around 4 o’clock in the morning.
Splinter and Things, though a small portion of his life, while being a father and on active duty take up most of his time, his passion has grown to become a rewardable hobby, so much so that he is thinking about taking his small business full-time. For Chavez, there’s no one story with a bow on his intentions to start Splinter and Things. It started with a small opportunity to make something that has grown to have a larger impact, with city partnerships and fundraisers, the sky is truly the limit for Chavez.
After serving overseas for five years, he now is stationed in Northern Chicago, Illinois at the Navy Bootcamp as a Small Arms Instructor.
He’s not grown his products beyond flags and challenge coin holders and is steadily trying new product ideas. To explore more of Xavier’s projects and keep up with what he is working on next, check out his online store here.