Joe Burdick makes custom flags
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Burdick Custom Flags, Seven Hills

Woodworker and Navy veteran Joe Burdick crafts wooden versions of the American flag at his home workshop.

Navy veteran Joe Burdick made a surprising discovery while shopping at a neighborhood craft store in 2015. Spying a wooden American flag on a shelf, he picked it up only to find the words “Made in China” stamped on the back of it.

Burdick quickly decided he needed to try his hand at crafting our country’s most revered symbol. What started as a hobby — and a way to prove to himself that he could celebrate our flag in a way that would promote patriotism and honor veterans and first responders — has blossomed into Burdick Custom Flags. In his garage-turned-workshop, the Seven Hills resident fashions reclaimed and new wood into impressive versions of the Stars and Stripes.

“When people look at the American flag, I don’t want them to see just a piece of cloth,” he says.

Burdick initially strived to create perfect replicas of Old Glory, but soon realized the occasional flaw helps tell a more powerful story.

“I make them to be imperfectly perfect, just like our country and each one of us,” he says.

“They’ve got knots, dings, rounded corners. We all have defects, and my flags are symbolic of that.”

The flags are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from a traditional take to ones incorporating different shades of colors or state-themed motifs. Burdick estimates he’s made about 1,000 flags to date.

Although he has a website, Burdick’s  business relies mainly on social media and word-of-mouth exposure. Burdick also donates his work to charities that include the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation and Coats for Kids, where it is auctioned off for fundraising.

Actress Jenny McCarthy ordered a flag for her husband, actor Donnie Wahlberg. Big-name clients, though, are not the goal.

“It’s nice to say that I made one for this celebrity or that pro athlete,” he says, “but the most special ones are for those who fought for our country, had bullets whizzing past them and sacrificed so much. … [Our] flag, and everything about it, means something. I hope my flags help people realize that.”  

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