On the eastern edge of Boulder, Colorado, sits our unique factory. Though we’re located in the city limits, our 3-acre site looks rural. On our ample grounds with large shade trees, you’ll often see employees lunching outside, working in our employee gardens, or tending to our small flock of chickens.
Inside is abuzz with activity, from high tech computer-controlled CNC machinery, to the low tech of hand-sanding a shuttle to a smooth finish. Just making one of our beautiful boat shuttles requires seven steps.
We are known for our quality, and this is uppermost in our minds every step of the way. From designing products that work for their intended purpose, to creating manufacturing methods that are as efficient as possible, to ensuring that parts are finished to the highest standards, our mantra is “constant improvement.” We stress that everything matters, whether it is drilling a hole, packing a loom, or entering an order. We know that our attention to detail matters to the weaver or spinner who depends on us to do the best job possible.
For over 50 years, Schacht has been a value-driven enterprise striving to be inclusive and respectful of others. We have always felt that our diversity has been our strength. Of our 46 current employees, 20 are persons of color (including Hmong, Latinx, African American, and Asian American). We respect other types of diversity too. Employees’ ages range from 20 to 77. Workers practice a variety of religions; identify as LGBTQ; deal with mental and physical challenges. Our workforce includes 26 women and 20 men. Half of our managers are women and 2 of our managers are persons of color. We work hard to be sure that we are inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all.
It has always made sense to us to find ways to conserve, both because it saves money and because it reduces our environmental impact. For years, we have tried to limit what goes to the landfill by selling sawdust to horse farms or sending it for composting. Through a program from the city of Boulder, all our waste is separated into three bins: compost, recycling, trash. Every Friday we put our scrap wood outside that is given away for free. Small downfall can be used for kindling; larger pieces are often saved for local woodturners. Additionally, we have lowered our energy use by changing all lighting to LED, switching our energy to on-demand, and cooling much of the factory with energy-efficient evaporative cooling. Our wood is sustainably raised in forests in northern Michigan and Canada. The oil we use for finishing our wood is hand rubbed (not sprayed) and is free of ozone-damaging drying agents.
Our vision is to support weavers and spinners worldwide through our products, services, and education.
Our mission is to spend each and every day making useful and beautiful tools that enhance our customers’ weaving and spinning experience. We do this with innovative problem-solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service.
- The core of our success is grounded in our lifelong commitment to the crafts of spinning and weaving. We desire to foster and support this community through our products and services.
- Teamwork, collaboration, generosity of spirit, and care of each other are critical to our ongoing success; together we are stronger than we are alone.
- Our dedication to quality and creativity in our products, woodworking craftsmanship, manufacturing processes, and customer service helps us achieve our goals and makes each day worthwhile.
- We believe in using sound business practices and cultivating the best relationships possible with each other, our vendors, and our customers, while acting in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
A Brief History
Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960s and its accompanying craft resurgence.
Barry Schacht, along with his brother Dan, started the business when a friend wanted to learn to spin. They’d heard about Greentree Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, where people raised sheep and taught spinning. One day they hopped in their van with friends and dogs and drove up to the ranch. Not only did they get a quick lesson in the art of the drop spindle, they also came home with a commission to make 200 of them.
When Barry and Dan delivered the spindles to the Greens, they were delighted, especially with the little green tree hand-painted on each one. Louise Green, who was just starting to weave, suggested the brothers make a simple loom. “What’s a loom?” they asked.
The first model was a portable tapestry loom, a version of which we still make today. To spread the word about weaving, they taught classes at the Boulder Free School, and soon opened a retail shop to serve new weavers and spinners.
In the beginning, Barry and Dan designed simple looms and accessories using one of the university’s woodworking shops. Early manufacturing was done with the help of a commune and a retired woodworker in Loveland, Colorado. Later, the brothers set up a shop in their garage. From there, the fledging company moved through a series of “real” factory spaces with honest-to-goodness power equipment. In 1985, the brothers built a factory in Boulder. Today, we build our looms in a 35,000-square-foot factory with nearly 50 employees, and are one of the world’s leading makers of handweaving looms and spinning wheels.
It’s been pleasurable and challenging to learn how closely our products tie in with the craftsperson’s work. We realize that the quality of their work depends on the quality of our tools. Our purpose every day is to make tools for the crafts we love.
—Barry Schacht and Jane Patrick