In 25 words or less describe who you are, where you’re located and what you make.
My name is John Truex. I’m the owner of Borough Furnace, a craft manufacturer of cast iron skillets in Syracuse, NY.
What made you want to be a maker?
Coming from the design field, my background was in designing products for other people to produce. I found the most fulfilling projects to be those that were the result of collaboration between the design team and the manufacturer. I started Borough Furnace to explore whether it was possible to create a new production system, on a small scale, where the value of a product is tied up in its making process.
Why should people support your business/products?
We hope that people will find value in the story of our production process – that we use waste materials and alternative fuel to create a long-lasting cooking tool.
Favorite product that you make?
My favorite product is our 9” frying skillet, made from reclaimed scrap iron. I designed the handle to dissipate heat, so it remains cool to the touch when cooking on the stovetop over a high flame.
List five of your favorite tools.
1. The Skilletron – our homemade waste vegetable oil fueled furnace
2. Optical Pyrometer – My dad found this in a pile of discarded equipment at a university physics lab. It’s a scope that allows you to read the temperature of molten iron from the frequency of the light emitted from the metal.
3. Pneumatic sand rammer – Picture a mechanical fist that compresses sand at 1,600 beats per minute (replacing the chunk of 2x4 that we used to use).
4. Sand Muller – The sand muller is a machine that uses a concrete wheel and radial arm to smash and mix together the sand and clay we use to make our reclaimable molds. Building the muller was the first big challenge we hurdled when putting our shop together.
5. Brake drums – We got a load of break drums at the scrap yard for some early furnace tests. Those that didn’t get melted down are pulling their weight all over the shop. We use them as door stops, props to tilt our molds up for a better pour, weights to hold the tops of our smaller molds down, pencil holders, storage bins for old gloves – you name it.
(photographs from Borough Furnace)
Make : The Roastery of Cave Creek
Film : Royal & Design
Make : Storm Wines
Film : Dan Addelson
Make : JoJo’s Sriracha
Film : SkeeterNYC
Make : 2Bar Spirits
Film : Consumption Films
Make : Helen Michetschläger
Film : Eamon Urtone