Cary inventor cooks up a top-notch cutting board

When you walk into Joe Casale’s design studio, one of the first things you notice is a bulletin board filled with sketches.

“When I get an idea for a new product, I do a concept sketch and post it on my bulletin board,” he says, “so I can think about it and let it stew.”

A consummate problem solver, Casale recalls one holiday several years ago when his parents, siblings and their families gathered at his home.

“We all love to cook,” he says, “and we were in the kitchen preparing a big meal. As I watched my brother chop vegetables, I thought there should be a way to get skins and peelings out of the way of the vegetables. The idea stuck with me.”

A few days later, still thinking about the problem, he drew up a cutting board concept that featured hideaway measuring trays, and posted it on the bulletin board. Intrigued by the possibilities, he did some preliminary market research at kitchen stores.

In late 2005, Casale learned about a casting call for a new TV show, “Everyday Edisons.” The Charlotte-produced PBS series chronicles the development of new products and the stories of their mom-and-pop inventors. He had missed the local tryouts. But one was coming up in Nashville, Tenn.

Casale’s cutting board made the final cut, and it was one of 14 inventions featured on the first season of “Everyday Edisons.”

“It was the easiest concept I’ve ever licensed,” he laughs. “I didn’t have to present it to anyone else, and I didn’t have to do any redesigns. They did everything: patent work, engineering, prototypes, market research, packaging.

I felt comfortable working with them because they were affiliated with PBS, and they required many documents that had to be submitted in order to be able to present your idea.”