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MiVT: Better Wheel Workshops

(WCAX)
Published: Apr. 30, 2018 at 3:55 PM EDT
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Let's take a spin on the lathe in Jeffery Chevalier's shop.

"It's a fascinating machine," Chevalier said.

The sawdust-like blasts of confetti celebrate the success of his round wonders.

"I think I have the most fun making the koozies, yeah," he said.

The first solid wood koozie, or woodzie as they're now known, was made as a way for Chevalier to fill time waiting for a newly built cabinet to dry.

"I kind of had that thought for years, that it could be done," he said. "I grabbed a chunk of wood and turned one out, brought it to a party that night... everybody at the party loved it. People wanted one and I just went from there. I've been making them ever since."

The wood for the woodzies come from a baseball bat company in Western Massachusetts. All the wood they can't use gets shipped to Chevalier. The plan is eventually to mill his own wood at his home in Newfane. The woodzies are just one item you can find from Better Wheel Workshops. Chevalier's wife came up with the name.

"She gets on me for always wanting to reinvent the wheel, everything I do. It's not untrue. I'm always playing and tinkering and doing little things," Chevalier said.

Inside each koozie are two layers of cork. How does the cork get there? Well, that's an industry secret. The cork keeps the can away from touching the wood. The air inside, along with the cork, provides insulation and keeps your drink cool for about 45 minutes.

"Wood really actually works well to insulate," Chevalier said.

The woodzies take about 30 minutes to make and cost $28-$32. The 16-ounce ones are the most popular. He sells them through his website and has a number of wholesale accounts. In fact, musicians like Gregg Allman and Jimmy Buffett are clients.

"It blows me away a lot. I get a call and it's like, 'Hey, I'm working with Jimmy Buffett and we really like your product.' I was like who, what? OK, cool," Chevalier said.

Unlike Mr. Buffett, Chevalier isn't wasting away in Margaritaville. He's working away, keeping up with the demand of his coolest creation.