Westfield Native Launches Custom Woodworking Business, Crossed Rifles Wood Flags
Photographer / Eli Beaverson
When things don’t go as planned in life, one can either get discouraged and give up or make the most of the situation.
Corey McDole’s decision to take the latter approach during a home woodworking project led to the beginning and eventual launch of his current business, Crossed Rifles Wood Flags.
A Central Indiana native, McDole graduated from Westfield High School in 2004 and spent seven years in the Army. He underwent two deployments during his active military service, including a trip to Iraq in 2008 as an infantryman.
Four years ago, McDole began tinkering with woodworking projects and found that the pursuit served as an effective stress reliever.
“I never did woodworking at all earlier on in my life – it was just a hobby that I picked up to fill my time after deployment,” McDole says. “Adjusting after getting back from being deployed can be an issue for a lot of people who serve. Doing woodworking was a way to keep me out of trouble and bad habits. I started to enjoy doing it more and more.”
Eventually, McDole’s wife asked him to build a wooden gate for their baby in 2017, and while the project didn’t work out, it sent him down another interesting path.
“The gate I made was too heavy for a kid to open, so I scrapped that idea and decided to turn it into a flag,” McDole says. “I had seen wooden flags before and I always wanted one for myself. I started learning how to make them through trial and error.”
Throughout the following year, McDole developed his own approach to making wooden flags, and as he made flags for friends and family members as a hobby, word spread and he began taking an increasing number of custom orders.
“Word of mouth really helped me out, and as popularity grew with the flags I tried to get better and better at making them,” McDole says. “What started as a side business has turned into almost a full-time gig now. Most of the marketing for this is either word of mouth or on Facebook. I keep very busy now just from the way word has spread through those means.”
McDole officially launched Crossed Rifles Wood Flags as a business in 2018, taking inspiration from his time in the Army infantry for the business name, and he says custom orders for his flags have steadily grown since that time.
“Crossed rifles is the infantry badge, and I thought it would be meaningful to use that as the name, with my background,” McDole says.
McDole starts each handmade wood flag project from scratch, with a pile of lumber and a few tools. Each piece of wood is cut to size based on each customer’s desired flag size and hand-torched to achieve the desired hue. McDole can also add staining, paint, text, logos or decals to the flags based on customer preference.
Everything is crafted with McDole’s two hands – you won’t find any machines or computer-based production instruments in his garage workshop space.
“I can make almost any size as long as it fits in my garage,” McDole says with a chuckle. “It can be challenging because everything is made to order and there’s no script to it and no template that I can just repeat.”
Customers typically reach out to McDole via phone, email or social media with descriptions and dimensions for a desired flag and will receive an estimated cost and timeline for order fulfillment.
“I can usually get an estimated price back fast and let people know if it’s something I can do or not,” McDole says. “If there are any extensive customizations I’ll let them know what any added costs might be.”
McDole has also started taking orders for wood-based tables with flags on the surface.
“The tables have become one of my most popular sellers,” he says. “I’ve done end tables and tables with drawers. Those are challenging and there’s less room for error with those. People have a certain expectation when it comes to furniture in their house, especially when it comes to a flag that they might want as kind of a centerpiece.”
McDole says he hasn’t turned Crossed Rifles into a full-time endeavor just yet, but the possibility remains strong.
“It fills a lot of my time,” he says. “With it being custom work, it’s hard getting a lot of orders done in short periods of time – especially with a wife and three kids. But I do enjoy it a lot, so who knows.”
For more information on Crossed Rifles Wood Flags and to inquire about a custom order, call 317-507-6769, email email@example.com and visit facebook.com/crossedrifleswoodflags.