Entrepreneur and passionate teacher: Mr. Berglund’s little known company

Norah Austin

More stories from Norah Austin


Crabby Tools Website

Berglund’s “Drummer’s Wing Nut Wrench” tightens a wing nut on a cymbal stand, accomplishing the task it was created to do. According to Berglund, “My tool has different uses, on my website I have a 101 uses section. It really could be used for so many things, and I’ve used it for so many things too.” Photo: CrabbyTools Website

If you’ve ever walked through the maze of the 2nd floor, you’ve surely passed room 256, the room of Doug Berglund, economics and government teacher here at South.

Most commonly, he is seen diligently teaching his classes, often teaching about the principles of economics and government. However, Berglund is less commonly known as a professional musician and entrepreneur.

Throughout his twenties and thirties, Berglund was a professional drummer playing in several bands as well as eventually being inducted into the North Dakota Rock & Country Hall of Fame in 2012.

Being a professional drummer requires setting up and tearing down equipment constantly, which gave Berglund an idea. “You always have to set up the drums and tear them down… one of the things I always wanted to find a tool that would tighten the wingnut on my cymbal stand, my cowbell, my woodblock, because when you’re drumming, you’re hitting stuff,” said Berglund.

This constant hitting of drum pieces causes the wing nuts, which tighten the stands of the drums, to loosen over time, creating a danger if this instrument were to fall over.

He continued, “I looked everywhere and asked around, but nobody was selling a wrench that could firmly clamp down on both wings of a wing nut. Pliers can’t do it, and using two drumsticks just doesn’t cut it.”

Sparked from this anxiety, Berglund decided to create a product that could effectively tighten wing nuts.

“So I made my own tool, kind of out of a wire cutter, and I got my brother to help me do it, and eventually I made my own tool. I used that for years and years and years,” said Berglund. “I always wondered why no one had ever made one.”  

As stated by Berglund, this tool homemade tool was ”crude, but effective.” After noticing several downfalls of this tool, he decided to look further. “Everyone I talked to seemed certain that they had seen one before, but no one knew where,” he said. “And no one could find one in their tool box or kitchen ‘junk drawer’ at home.”

Although frustrated, his sheer passion for making music drove him to pursue creating a tool that would be able to effectively accomplish this task.

In 2013, he discovered 3D printers and the extreme capabilities of which they held. “I brought the tool into South High when I heard we had a 3D printer in the Industrial Ed. Department.”

South Engineering teacher Jesse Sirovy was involved in the process of creating the wrench, helping Berglund to gain resources and ideas for creating his product. “[Berglund] asked us for some help doing the CAD work, or the drawings on the computer,” said Sirovy. “We gave him some advice and some preliminary ideas, things like that.”

Once he obtained permission to create prototypes, according to his website Crabby Tools, he “found a student who could draw up and write out the wrench in digital format. We printed out some plastic prototypes, and the two of us presented the idea to a team of international patent lawyers.”

Elaborating upon this, Sirovy stated, “we did get [Berglund] into contact with one of our students. The student that worked on this project with him did all the CAD work. We didn’t do any of that. If the student needed advice on what was being to be drawn I would help them with it.”

These prototypes helped to fulfill the task of which he sought to accomplish, however much remained to be accomplished before this product was completely finished and ready for production.

“So I went down the line in the phone book to patent lawyers, and I found one downtown…There’s this international law firm downtown and they were actually pretty excited.”

For Berglund, the process of obtaining patents was relatively difficult. “One thing about patents is that you don’t get one patent and you’re done. You gotta get a patent in every country you sell it in,” said Berglund. “There are 21 countries that I have patents in.”

“It’s really really difficult just to get it going,” he emphasized. “There’s just no one place to go that helps you out to do this. There’s a bunch of different numbers to call, and LegalZoom to help you out and things like that. But none of that stuff gives you enough of the answers that you need.”

The process of creating a company was certainly enjoyable, however it wasn’t without its struggles.

“Every little thing about doing the company, there isn’t a check off list that you can find anywhere. Like those books, ‘how to start your own company’ they went into all kinds of things that weren’t valuable to me.”

After several years of hard work, Berglund’s wrench had been fully planned out and ready to be produced.  He made sure his tool was specially crafted, with an emphasis on the fact that it was created in the USA. “I gave out a few to some drummer friends to test (each one certain they had seen one before – yet none could say where) and the response was remarkable,” said Berglund’s website.

He continued, “That feedback was the impetus to jump-start Crabby Tools into action. The next summer we started manufacturing in earnest, and the rest is history.”

Currently, his “Drummer’s Wing Nut Wrench” is for sale in several hardware stores throughout Minnesota and on his website, www.crabbytools.com.

“I have [tools] hanging up at a hardware store, but I’ve got my website, which is where I get most of my attention,” he stated.

Although the initial intent of this wrench was to aid musicians, it can be used for many things besides that. According to Berglund, “My tool has different uses, on my website I have a 101 uses section. It really could be used for so many things, and I’ve used it for so many things too.”

He continued, “Mostly this kind of thing with drums and stuff like that, but it works to tighten eye bolt nuts, wing nuts and thumb nuts, stuff like that.”

Throughout his products Berglund hopes to create the highest quality products. Overall, this inspiration stemmed from the people around him.

“I just heard him say that ‘use the good ones’ and that made such an impact on me,” said Berglund. “We’re going to do quality work here, and we’ll charge for the quality work.”

In creating this endeavour, Berglund is still in debt, however he feels as though creating this company was completely worth it.

“What I want to do is leave something to the world. I’m gonna be gone someday and I want to leave something,” said Berglund. ”I’m behind [my company] 100%.”

In the future, he hopes to continue to grow his company, while leaving a legacy behind.

He concluded, “I think it’s a darn good tool. I’m proud of it.”