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'Cool Tools' films at New Richmond shop

Heintz Machine Corp in New Richmond had a slow day on Wednesday, June 25.

In fact, the day before was kind of slow too, and the economy had nothing to do with it.

The corporation's primary customer, Lumberjack Tools, took over the shop for a day of filming for the Do-it-Yourself network's TV show, "Cool Tools."

At Heintz Machine Corp, their four Computer Numerical Control machines turn cylinders of raw material, like aluminum, plastic and steel, into finished products.

Heintz forms aluminum into tenon cutters for Lumberjack Tools. The cutters whittle a tip and drill a hole in small logs used to make log furniture like beds and tables. The cutters fit on electric drills.

Andy Heintz, owner of Heintz Machine Corp, explained, "It's like a big pencil sharpener."

Heintz said they make roughly 200 parts per day for Lumberjack Tools, handling all aspects of the manufacturing process from the Computer Aided Design to manufacturing to the end user.

Scott Sullivan, owner of Lumberjack Tools with his wife Wendy, said they've been working with Heintz for about as long as he's been open, around two-and-a-half years.

All of Lumberjack's other needs are met in the area too. They work with White Bear Machine and Arden Specialty Products. Each of the businesses is family owned, there isn't a corporate division. Additionally, they are all American.

Sullivan said he started the company in 2002 in Dresser, Wis. where he resided for 10 years.

In 2007, Sullivan moved the company to Colorado Springs, Colo. for personal reasons but knew he wanted to keep the manufacturing here in Wisconsin because of all the technical knowledge this area holds. He said, "The heart of manufacturing is still in the Midwest."

Sullivan added that in this age of technology with e-mails and faxes, it's not too hard to keep the business functioning smoothly, even if parts are states apart.

Sullivan is planning for his company to grow and expand over the next few years, but wouldn't think of moving it away from the area. He said he'll "absolutely" keep working with Wisconsinites.

Currently, Lumberjack Tools has only two employees, said Sullivan; including the people who work with his company in the area brings the total to 12.

Sullivan said he designed his tools out of necessity. He and his wife owned a rustic home and he couldn't find any high quality tools to use for additional building or upkeep.

Since his background is engineering, he decided to just make the tools he needed. From there, the business grew to today's where its client list includes stores like Sears, Woodcraft and True Value.

Sullivan was discovered by "Cool Tools" at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. He has no doubt why the producers wanted to feature his company on the show.

"We make a cool tool," Sullivan said with a smile.

When the filming finally started in New Richmond on Wednesday around 9 a.m., both companies were ready with lawn chairs set up for spectators and those waiting for their parts to come up.

Heintz estimated the crew was in New Richmond for around seven hours and this was the second stop for them. They started the day before with a company in the Twin Cities that Lumberjack Tools also works with.

Heintz said everyone who works for both of the companies was there, with the exception of Sullivan's wife, Wendy.

Everyone took a turn in front of the camera, performing a different part of the production. At the end of filming, they hope to have a detailed documentary of the tool from designing it to demonstrating it when it's completely finished.

As of Wednesday, they weren't sure when the show was going to run. However, they think it will be sometime in November or December.