My name is Nick Rivera, and welcome to Abanak.com. This is my store for the handmade inspirational gifts that I have created.
For over 20 years, I have made my living as a merchant marine. My work schedule keeps me away from home for two weeks each month. In my off time, I love doing small woodworking projects. I find these projects make wonderful gifts for friends and family.
One of my larger projects came shortly after having purchased a new home. My basement was very outdated, and I wanted to refurbish it and build a small woodworking shop in it. For the floors, I decided to install an epoxy resin. The colors came out vibrant and alive and reminded me of the ocean. The resin made the floor so smooth and easy to clean it is a pleasure to walk barefooted on it.
Being impressed with the floor, I decided to use epoxy in more of my projects. I used it on tabletops. I refurbished old dressers adding epoxy to their tops, which made them both beautiful and durable. The results were so lovely my wife wanted me to create a side business refurbishing old dressers.
However, I had a problem. My workshop is in my basement and getting large dressers in and out is problematic at times. I have to do all my sanding outside, and the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Also, large furniture items take up too much space, so I would be limited in how many projects I could do at one time.
Around that time, I found someone who was looking to sell a secondhand laser cutter/engraver. Like most men, I couldn’t wait to play with my new toy. So, I started watching tutorial videos on YouTube. One video I happened upon was a man who was cutting nameplates out of plywood. They were nice but very simple. All he was doing was painting the wood and cutting out the name. He was selling them for $50. I knew that if I used epoxy resin on layered wood, I could get stunning colors along with a 3D effect that would make a fantastic, personalized gift. Plus, I could find no one else who was doing anything like it, making my name plaques a totally unique gift.
I made my first name plaques as Christmas gifts for friends and family. While working on pieces for my nieces and nephews, I had the idea of engraving a personal message on the back. Which allowed me to pass onto them a poem that has been an inspiration to me for many years. This poem and my personal message would also be there for them to remember me long after I am gone. When my nieces and nephews (who are all adults) received their name plaques, the response was tremendous. They loved them and even claimed that the name plaques were among the best gifts they have ever received.
Quite unexpectedly, I started getting orders from people who had seen the pieces I had already made and wanted one for their family members.
By combining my interest in small woodworking and a love of working with epoxy, I found something I could easily do from my basement workshop.
Plus, I love knowing that I am crafting something that can bring such great joy to others.
Professionally I am still a merchant marine and spend two weeks each month at sea. In my off time, I make my name plaques and inspirational plaques. There is a fair amount of labor that goes into each plaque, and it is for this reason, I require up to four weeks to fulfill any orders.