ASHLAND — Times were when the maker of Drill Doctor products was the toast of home do-it-yourselfers and handymen from Boston to San Diego.

That was before recession shattered the nation's economic psyche and construction, especially home building, slowed to a crawl. The boom faded and pink slips went out. The Pro Tool component of Darex faded and was folded into one downsized company.

In recent months, however, Darex has once again caught lightning in a bottle and the 50 hardy souls who persevered through the tough times are being rewarded.

Five years of research and development paid off this fall when Darex introduced its Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener. The Hersey Street company has shipped 10,000 units of the device, which has a suggested retail price $79.95, this quarter.

“Basically, we are sold out all over the country,” said Darex President Hank O'Dougherty. “We've caught back up, but we haven't got to the market for Christmas. Amazon's website said it's (back-ordered) six to seven weeks on their website. We are feeling stretched right now.”

With retailers ordering the new product and continued sales of other sharpening products, Darex's balance sheet is looking strong.

Last week, the company distributed $150,000 in bonuses among its employees.

“That's only a part of the bonus,” O'Dougherty said. “There is a piece at least that large coming in March (at the end of Darex's fiscal year) as well. We thought we'd give them bonuses now so people can have a nice holiday season.”

— Staff reports