Entrepreneurs at heart, Keith and Ron Bow formed Bow Products to solve problems. Driven by creativity and passion to find a better way, the Bow Brothers like to spend their spare time developing new products.
In the beginning…..
Keith has operated fork trucks for much of his career. He has been responsible for safely handling large heavy cylinder shaped objects. Challenged to safely transport these products, Keith was not satisfied with the current method. Ron, who worked in the shoe industry had a similar challenge of developing products that handle heavy odd shaped products. They were called “People”. Long story short, conspiring to solve Keith’s challenge, the Bow Brothers came up with a line of tools for fork trucks that use EVA (Hardened Foam) material that can support tons of material yet hold their shape for years of use. Bow “Industrial” Products was born.
So…What do Forklift products have to do with Woodworking? Absolutely nothing the brothers jokingly say. Just us! In their spare time, Keith and Ron are shop guys – and they share a passion for woodworking.
Through the years, as with most woodworkers, Keith became aware the hard way of the dangers of ‘kickback” on a table saw. “It’s always there, always on your mind”. “I’ve had my share of scary moments and I’m lucky to have avoided serious injury. It seemed to us, based on the products available in the market, that this phenomenon was just an accepted risk in the industry. Researching injuries in woodworking, we saw estimates of thousands of injuries every year, many serious, which are a consequence of kickback”.
Keith was not satisfied that traditional plastic featherboards truly met the safety challenge. Sure they all guide wood into the blade, but their designs are all based on the same premise and in measuring kickback resistance force, plastic feathers all performed about the same. The wooden featherboards were even worse. In their never ending conquest for a better way, Keith and Ron experimented with both design and material for a featherboard. If the Hardened Foam was durable and strong enough to handle the infeed requirements it could provide new benefit on the kickback by its ability to absorb pressure. Through trial and error the hinge design enabled this and the FeatherPRO was born. Designing hinges in the feathers, they discovered a way to significantly restrict the flow of wood in the direction against the hinge. This essentially added a mechanical advantage to the Hardened Foam. Something, to their knowledge, that was never done before. Ron noted how satisfying it was when they began to test the concept. “It was simply amazing that this tool was so much more effective against kickback.” Keith added “As we started tinkering with the FeatherPRO we realized the product actually outperforms plastic featherboards on the infeed and is less likely to damage a blade or a bit if it came into contact with them. It’s A Win/Win tool, and a fresh new design in a stale product category.”
“This is just the start.” Keith notes, “We have several other tools coming soon.”
Keith and Ron will tell you the same thing all inventors will tell you. That finding a better way to do something is rewarding beyond sales and profits. “For us, there is nothing like the feeling of improving safety. You think about it every day. Who could have been hurt today, but wasn’t, because of a Bow Product. To help reduce injuries is the most gratifying part.”