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The Butterfly Joint Reminds Us That “Design” Isn’t Just Online

Today I want to take a step away from the world of photo apps and virtual butlers and “disruption” and check out an awesome entrepreneur who is trying to bring the old school craft of woodworking back to the children of San Francisco.



steam whistle


Danny Montoya started working in schools in 1997, with a focus on early childhood education. After getting his degree in 2000, Mr. Montoya taught kindergarten and first grade at some of the top independent schools in San Francisco.


During the whole time he was teaching Mr. Montoya was also working with his hands in his own woodworking shop. As his skills got greater and his look more refined, people started taking notice until he was being commissioned for custom pieces, working with interior designers, and selling his work in shops.


In 2012, Mr. Montoya left teaching and decided to focus full-time on his woodworking business but after his daughter was born, he felt the pull back to teaching. Rather than return to the classroom, Danny decided to start The Butterfly Joint.


The Butterfly Joint will be a San Francisco woodworking and design studio for children age 4 and up. It’s set up like an adorable mini-factory: the “workers” (kids) punch in with real timecards at the beginning of their sessions, wait for the steam whistle to signal the start of the “work day,” put on their little woodworking aprons, and get to work with real tools on real projects. At the end of the “work day,” the kids know it’s time to stop when the steam whistle signals again.


The Butterfly Joint will offer everything from one day intro classes to longer sessions covering more complex projects. The kids will learn how to create usable wooden pieces using joinery techniques and real tools. Additionally, they’ll learn to care for and clean up their tools and space because, as Danny reminds us in his explainer video, “If you take care of you environment, your environment will take care of you.”


The Butterfly Joint from key&kite on Vimeo.


In addition to the classes that anyone can sign up for, The Butterfly Joint will offer customized homeschool curricula and they’ll also host birthday parties, summer camps, and family classes. Finally, the shop will contain a retail section, where parents can buy projects to do at home, completed projects for gifting, and specialty items like mini-aprons and age-appropriate tools that kids can use at home.


Danny and The Butterfly Joint are currently crowdfunding on Fundable. They’re only seven days from the end of their campaign at the time of this article going to press and they’re so, so close to their goal! If you think that the thumbs aren’t the only part of a kid’s hands that should be active, head over to their Fundable profile right now and help make Mr. Montoya’s dream a reality.


Photo & Video Credits

The Butterfly Joint

Author : Emma McGowan

Emma is a proud native of Burlington, Vermont, who has lived in six different countries over the past two years. She's living and loving the global nomad life and writing about technology and startups everywhere she goes. Check out more of her writing about tech on (the more titillating stuff) KinkAndCode.. Follow her on Twitter @MissEmmaMcG.

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