About Us

The Wisdom In Wood® Story

"The great use of a life is to spend it for something that outlasts it."
- William James, 1900

My interest in sayings, quotations, proverbs, maxims, epigrams and mottos began at a young age and originally involved collecting books (the kind printed on paper) and clippings. With the advent of the computer, but before the Internet, I created a database which has now grown to more than 16,000 citations. Originally, I really only intended to save them for my personal use, and freely confess I may have gotten a bit carried way.

Over time, I observed how the right quotation used at the right time and place could convey an important point in an unforgettable way, sway someone’s point of view, and even motivate people to action. I realized there might be a chance to make a positive impact by sharing the great thoughts I had collected with a broader audience.

"From thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a single step."
- George Washington, 1786

My collection, when coupled with an enthusiasm for typography and an appreciation for woodcarving born of a distant relative (a master carver whose chest of wood carving tools and carvings were passed on to me), gave rise to the idea of carving “the world’s greatest thoughts” in an artful permanent form that would help to preserve them for generations to come.

The first step in developing a carving is to ensure the accuracy of its inscription. For verification, I make every effort to go back as close to the source as possible. This can mean viewing an original document, a first edition publication or a reliable transcript. It also means I’ve had the great pleasure of working with a number of museum curators and historians as well as others who have specialized expertise or access. For items not originally published in English, I’ve gone back to the original language and engaged linguists to reaffirm an English translation. I’ve followed a similar path for the typography we use, consulting vintage type catalogs, scholarly works on typography, and experts in the field.

From the delivery of rough lumber to the final finished product, our work is done “Under One Roof.” This production philosophy helps to ensure the highest quality results by providing both flexibility and control over each step of the process while, at the same time, fostering a real sense of pride and accomplishment in what we do.

So, in many ways, we think of ourselves as preservationists working to preserve great thoughts and historic letterforms as well as the skills to make something of lasting and outstanding quality here in America. What we are doing may seem to some like we’ve taken a step back in time, but I prefer to think of it as applying the lessons of our past so we can move forward.

With our carvings now on display from the city council chamber to the executive office suite and in various museums, schools, and private homes, I am very gratified at the positive response to our efforts and the products we make.

Here, at our online home, our clients are our guests and will be treated accordingly. We want you to be more than just satisfied with our products and in your relationship with us. We want you to be happy.

I am pleased and proud to welcome you to our shop. Thank you for visiting!

All the best,

Kurt Wolbrink
Owner and Founder
Good Thinking International, LLC

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