It’s the end of the boring Father’s Day tie. And the run-of-the-mill graduation gift. And the typical birthday present.
Westley Branton has changed all that with his amazing, hand-made wooden bow ties.
Rivertown Cabinetry co-owner with Lee McCormick, creating from wood is not just Branton’s livelihood, it’s his hobby as well.
“I like stretching myself and extending myself as a woodworker,” he says.
In business in the old Big D Siding building on Beaty Street in Conway, Branton and his wife Tina have been married about 32 years and have four children.
A Charleston County native, he’s “lived in Conway since just before Elvis died.”
Tina Branton is a homemaker and piano teacher, and the couple attends Bethany Bible Chapel.
It’s not just the bow ties, available for sale at The Haberdashery, that keep Branton busy after work.
He makes everything from cutting boards to duck calls to working clocks.
“If it’s wood, I’ve tried it,” he says.
His maternal grandfather, Archie West, and his father, Samuel Branton, were hands-on people, he remembers, and says growing up, he didn’t think there was anything his grandfather couldn’t do.
West was an auto mechanic and Branton watched and learned “everything from auto mechanics to woodworking and everything in between.”
His father served in the Air Force and on the Conway Police Department, and Branton says he never saw him buy anything he could make.
The dimensional bow ties include green and yellow ones that are perfect for Conway High School graduates, and others reminiscent of the American flag. The majority of the ties are done with un-dyed wood, but the stars on the flag are an exception.
“Ninety percent of the wood is just like God made it, but I couldn’t find blue wood,” he laughs. Instead, the blue color is made with blue impregnated dye veneer.
The ties, which are surprisingly lightweight, can take as little as eight hours or as long as several days.
“I love doing it at night, when I’m done building cabinets,” he says.
The bow ties, which are standard size, are complete with adjustable neck bands, hand-made by Branton’s mother-in-law, Delores Giannamore.
The craftsman also makes pens and pencil sets, and made some for family members from the chair his grandfather sat in for meals.
Branton also takes special orders and can be reached at email@example.com, at 843-340-2885 or through his Facebook page.
“I see a piece of wood and think about what I can make from it,” he says, adding, “I think I inherited my ability to work with my hands.”