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From rock bottom to business ownership

Brandon Mahoney – a recovering alcoholic – finds stability through woodworking business

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October 3, 2023

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN – Brandon Mahoney said July 7, 2022, is a day he will never forget.

Recognizing that he needed a drastic change in his life, the now business owner said making the decision to invest in himself and his overall well-being led him down a path he never expected to take.

“Not sure what it was about that day, but I woke up super early – like 5 a.m. – and (made the decision) to give up drinking,” he said. “I was fed up with myself and my life. I was drinking myself to death. I’d wake up, go to work, come home and drink myself to sleep. I’d do it all over again the next day. It was costing me money, relationships and friendships.”

Nearly 15 months later, Mahoney said he feels his life is back on track.

“I’m sleeping better, I’ve lost 75 pounds, my mood is better and I’m improving every day,” he said. “Giving up drinking was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it continues to get better every day. I wake up every day, and I’m thankful to be alive. I have a lot of support out there. Before July 7, I was on a path of destruction.”

The change in lifestyle, Mahoney said, also included eliminating negativity from his life.

“Anybody or anything that brought that negativity out, I just told them, ‘I don’t have time for negativity anymore,’” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’m completely stress-free, but darn near close.”

Moving forward
As an extension of his fresh start, Mahoney took the leap into entrepreneurship – starting a woodworking business earlier this year – fittingly named Sober Cuts Woodworking.

Despite not having any formal woodworking experience, Mahoney said he’s always had a love of wood.

“I’ve always seen it, but never did it,” he said. “I started searching around and seeing what people liked – I guess I had a hidden talent. Working with wood is an art – seeing what people can make with it.”

Sober Cuts Woodworking also specializes in custom laser engraving. Submitted Photo

At first, Mahoney said he was a bit intimidated by the start-up costs associated with starting a woodworking business. 

“Some of those tools can be $1,000,” he said.

Mahoney said to help offset the cost of his first tool – a miter saw – he received help from a friend.

“I took care of the lady’s property where my first shop was located and worked it off,” he said. “I was working out of her garage but ran out of room.”

From there, Mahoney said he slowly started buying more equipment from the profits he was making from the jobs he completed.

“I’m a lot closer now to being fully done with my tool buying,” he said.

Recently moving into a heated and insulated building in Abrams, Mahoney said the new space will allow him to work all winter.

“Between my job at Robinson Metal in De Pere – which is a great company to work for – and my business, I’m probably working 80-90 hours per week,” he said. “I’m home to sleep, and that’s about it.”

However, Mahoney said when he’s at his shop, it doesn’t feel like work and helps occupy his time.

Many businesses, Mahoney said, stem from a great story, and he feels Sober Cuts Woodworking fits that description.

“I think people are encouraged by the progress I’ve made,” he said. “I’m trying to better myself. My motto is ‘One day at a time.’”

Project capabilities
Sober Cuts Woodworking is a one-of-a-kind woodworking shop dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind pieces.

“I focus on bringing out the natural beauty of the wood and developing each project with precision and attention to detail,” he said.

Mahoney said he’s open to a variety of woodworking projects, including tables, baby step stools, decks, dog beds, etc.

Sober Cuts Woodworking founder/owner Brandon Mahoney said he can make specialty items like this raised dog dish. Submitted Photo

“Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of table builds, live edge work, epoxy tables and refinishing tables,” he said. “I’ve got four dining room tables I’m making now. I also have a laser to make customized signs. I built two decks this summer, too. A lady also recently reached out wanting me to make her a Murphy bed. I’ll take on the challenges and figure it out.”

Mahoney said all his work is custom and he works with customers to take their vision from idea to reality.

“My passion for woodworking and the satisfaction of seeing my clients’ visions come to life is what drives me,” he said.

The future
With how quickly things have taken off, Mahoney said he’s open to adding employees – someday.

“I want to make sure it’s not just some random person,” he said. “I’m building my reputation back up and growing things. Ideally, if I were to get employees, I’d like to have some sort of sobriety story behind it – find someone who is on a journey like me.”

You can reach out to Mahoney via text/call at 708-603-9283, email at, on Facebook or through the website at 

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