Monday, March 12, 2018
In order to make the contour seat, 8 pieces of wood had to be shaped and joined before being upholstered in leather.
The process of making the base required the steel to be heated at bend points then wrapped around a jig.
I'm always saying it...if you want to do something...you will find a way.
We recently got contacted to make some bar height tables with removable tops.
Sounds easy right? Well...it's not.
There's engineering involved and I am at about 8th grade math.
The client wanted a sample, but didn't really want to pay, but they're a big client, so you eat a little shit at first.
I went into it with the completely wrong mindset.
I was bitter and frustrated, and I tried to construct it with the idea that if it didn't work or it sucked, I could readily re use the material for something else.
That was probably the stupidest shit I've done in a long time. The kicker is...I KNEW it was stupid, but I stayed on the dummy path.
The end result was a rough concept that didn't completely work, and I was left more frustrated then I was when I started.
Luckily, Zach came in the next day and drove it home.
I was fueled by desire, but wasn't willing to fully commit, so, ya know what that equates to???
When you go all in, the result is success, like the above pictured bar stools.
When you don't fully commit to a idea...failure.
People always say "don't beat yourself up" or "don't be so hard on yourself"...I say the opposite.
You should be your own harshest critic.
Your bar should be higher than any customers.
I think that it's good to knock yourself down when you think you're at the top of your game.
Did I self sabotage? Nope...I knew the whole time that I was fucking up, but I thought my reasons were stronger than my expected result, and there lies the trap I set for myself.
There's this dude that I kinda follow on social media. His name is Gary Vanderchuk. He gives a lot of advice on bettering yourself for business and life, and a lot of it is common sense stuff but there is still a lot of content to pull from in the things he says.
He had said something about putting the bad shit or dumb shit that you've done, out in the open, because if you hold on to it, you're destined to repeat it.
That's a train of thought that makes sense to me.
Go on and fuck up, but be done with it and learn from it.
Mistakes are useless if you don't learn from them.
I'll still fuck up, I'll still do dumb shit, I'll fail often, but with each one, a small victory shall arise.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
As a very young...boy, we were allowed to roam freely about the city.
It was a different time back then. Sure there were creeps trying to lure you into a windowless van, but we were pretty crafty at a young age back then.
There was a park on the corner where I grew up, and that is where I made friends.
There were lots of us. The Black Sabbath tshirt wearing burn outs took us under their wings and showed us how to be grade A shit heads and the rest we figured out on our own.
There was a core group of us younger kids that hung out, and that bond continued for me up to high school.
Some 30 plus years later, I get a message from one of those old friends from my youth on Facebook saying that they needed a bar for their basement remodel.
Of course I said yes, and all through the build I couldn't stop thinking about my childhood and these people I grew up with.
It's fucking weird because I spend very little time looking back, but I just couldn't help it.
This bar...It's a cool bar...I wanted to make sure it was a really fucking cool bar for who it was going to, but this bar carried some pain with it. Pain I wasn't looking to re visit anytime soon.
My best friend back then was this kid named Mark. He died a few years ago. It was one of the very few death/memorials that I've attended, and although it was nice seeing people I hadn't seen in years, his death always kinda haunted me.
Out of all the people that I grew up with, Mark was the one I'd bump into the most.
I'd see him at hardcore shows from time to time and we'd chat for a few minutes, and I'd always walk away from those meetings kinda scratching my head and thinking "dudes kinda off?".
Mark had some tragedy's in his life that I don't think he was able to overcome, and he wasn't very good at hiding it.
I remember talking to his cousin at the memorial and him telling me that he had some demons.
I don't know, I don't even like writing about it, but that memory came to kick me in the balls while building this bar and I wasn't prepared for it and I was literally angry at my own brain for drudging that shit up while I was building for a different old friend who's alive and well and I was very excited to build for in the first place.
Shit happens for a reason.
Maybe this project was put in front of me because I had to confront some bad memories for a final time?
MAYBE...that is some hippy, crystal rubbing, chakra aligning, patchouli sniffing, sage burning thinking.
Maybe I just bury shit really fucking deep, and only confront emotions when triggered.
Maybe you all are bored to tears with me rambling on about my emotional problems.
So fuck it...Sorry you had to pay for my therapy Nadine, but you got a killer bar outta it!
I was hoping to see Nadine when we delivered the bar, but she had a meeting, and told us her son would be there to receive the piece. I was expecting some 8 year old kid to answer the door (because my son is 8), but I obviously started my journey into parenthood a bit later in life.
So I've accepted the fact that my brain is an asshole because whenever something really good and exciting happens, my brain says "BUT FIRST....digest this horrible shit motherfucker.", then I do, and I write about my feelings and all the girls go "AWHHHHH", and all the guys go "What a fuckin' pussy", but whatever...my laundry is now clean...at your expense...thank you.
I can't wait for more old friends to come out of the woodwork so I can build more cool shit while confronting more personal tragedy...should be a blast.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
This is a 1964 camper that was converted into a pop up shop for MOHN STANDARD, which is a clothing store out of Kansas.
Tim's wife is a professional bike racer and while attending these events around the country, they wanted to bring their store to these events.
When we got the camper, it was pretty much in it's original 1964 state.
I personally have never stepped foot into a camper in my life until now.
Apparently campers are basically made of paper that looks like aluminum and rotted wood pieces...who knew?
We ever so conveniently began the build in the dead of winter because nothing stimulates the creative juices quite like negative 20 degree wind chills.
The only request that Tim had was that we work in a $5000 sewing machine where he can sit and do alterations on the road, but the rest of the camper was ours to play with.
Me and Zach probably spent a combined 5 minutes talking about design details. We don't talk...we just DO.
There's a new clothing company about to launch called "Never Canary" (check em out on Instagram), but their tag line is "WE DON'T SING", which I'm sure refers to snitches, but that tagline kept popping in my head because I applied it to the way me and Zach work together. We don't need to talk about shit. Neither of us needs approval from the other to be creative. He knows his shit, I know my shit, so what's to talk about?
This project embodies that mind set of just doing.
I'd love to get into all the details of this camper but you nor I have the time, and this isn't some fucking DIY tutorial.
Tim brought the sewing machine to be installed a few days before the camper was complete, and I had the pleasure of hanging out with him on Saturday night.
Screeching Weasel and CJ Ramone were doing 2 nights the weekend that Tim arrived.
I had passes for both nights and Tim comes from a punk rock background, so me and my son got to hang out with Tim at the show.
I love connecting with my customers if possible. It's rare though. Some folks hand you a check and kick you in the ass, and some...become friends.
Our business model for connecting with customers probably won't put us on any FORBE'S list, but in an effort to connect with you all, I'll let you fill in the last word of my favorite phrase...
I DON'T GIVE A _ _ _ _.
Check out Mohn Standard online.
Before I go, I gotta say Happy Birthday to my partner Zach.
Me and this mother fucker spend so much time together and have been through so much shit together, it's almost incomprehensible.
Yet, when endearing moments happen, like birthdays or Christmas or tragedy like my dad dying and Zach's fucking lung collapsing, we are so awkward.
So know this Zach...when I shout "Happy Birthday fucker" across the shop as I'm heading out the door, it means way more than "happy birthday fucker". Here's the kicker...I know that you know, cause after all...we don't sing.
Monday, February 5, 2018
So, Gramps wanted a table in his basement so his 6 grandchildren had a place to sit and stare at electronic devices while the world completely passed them by...no,no,no, I joke, he wanted a place where they could play games and shit while he was upstairs killing a bottle of Jameson, no,no,no, I joke again, but only about the Jameson.
We had to color match the table and stools to a shitty picture of his ceiling beams, and some fucking how...it was a perfect match.
The next is some hand bent stools with a upholstered leather seat.
We go months without making a sitting device and then bam...slammed with em'.
So the guy who is doing the upholstery is also a Midcentury Furniture dealer, he saw the 6 stools for grandpas table, and was like "damn, those are awesome, we should do the seats in Mongolian Sheepskin", and me and Zach are like "Mongolian Sheepskin...I mean, what the fuck else would you possibly do them in"...neither of us have a fucking clue what Mongolian Sheepskin is or how it differs from any other sheepskin on the planet, but the suggestion is coming from a guy who ships out $15,000 chairs on the daily, so I assume Mongolian Sheepskin is Thee Sheet.
The shop had gotten to a point where it was almost impossible to work in.
For the last week, we would nibble on projects, but most of the time was dedicated to putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.
I don't know if you can judge from the blog or Instagram feed, but we work at a pace that is unprecedented, so the shop tends to get away from us.
Yeah, we'd all like our shop to look like that Norm Abrhams guys shop, where everything is in it's place and there isn't a spec of dust anywhere, but we couldn't be on more of the opposite end of that spectrum.
It's not because we're a couple of dirty motherfuckers, it's passion.
When you get wrapped up in the build, you give zero fucks about putting clamps away or the chisel back in the box.
Passion...what a powerful fucking quality.
If you ever get to just shootin' the shit with someone and the conversation gives itself to that question.."so, what's your passion? What drives you?", you'll notice a lot of head scratchin' and "uh's" out of most people. When you ask that question to someone that has a true passion for something, buckle up motherfucker because you are about to get a ear full.
It could be cooking, building, painting, whatever...but someone with a true love of their craft is going to take your ass to school on it, so listen up and take notes.
Not everyone has a passion either.
Some folks are just content with existing as they are, and that's cool too...I don't fucking get it, but I respect it.
How one can live without that one thing that gets your blood pumping, that's yours, that makes you feel as if you have the ultimate command over something, is beyond me.
There's a difference between "passion" and "past time".
Here's one that's gonna get me some "fuck yous"...Motorcycles.
Building them, fixing them, customizing them...Passion
Riding them...Past time.Passion is to create...something.
Hoping on a motorcycle with all your motorcycle gear, getting the wind in you face, at one with the road, the earth passing you by in all it's beauty...man, it's a awesome feeling, but it's not passion.
Racing motorcycles, or collecting them, or restoring them...all passion.
So, that's a little lesson on passion, ya have it or ya don't.
There's not a greater feeling then being consumed by a great passion, and that's the point I'm trying to get across, OR...I just came up with a real wordy excuse for a messy workshop.
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Friday I was getting ready to take a shower and I heard something fall and saw my son behind his drum set in his underwear and he looked at me and said "keyboard down!", he picked it up, balanced it on his lap with his guitar and proceeded to compose.
Later that evening, he hustled me into renting that movie "Logan", 3 minutes into the movie, dudes are getting stabbed in the head and shit and I looked at him and just said "dude??!", he gave me a sideways smile and said "yeah man,,,,rated,,,R".
I said to him "dude, your mom is gonna kill us, not us...ME!", without missing a beat, this 8 year old boy said "that's why you're gonna return it when you go to the gym in the morning....I want you to live bro."
I burst into laughter because a 8 year old ME, was talking to ME.
Cute fuckin story, right? It hit me like a ton of bricks, the impact that we have on our kids.
It is truly staggering.
My son will tell me tales of shit head kids in his class that are mean to other kids, unrightfully defiant, and basically future inmates.
I'll wind up at some bullshit school function where they are trying to get their hands in my pockets for more money, and I'll ask my son to point out the mean kids.
I see the kids and then I see the parents, and the math is pretty simple from there on out.
Piece of shit scumbag parent equals piece of shit booger eater.
So, because some parents think it's cute to dress their kids up like little gangbangers, I gotta drop $150 a month to send my kid to Jiujitsu in the event my son has to choke one of the little fucks out.
My kid is cool because he is surrounded by cool people.
His 50 year old uncle/brother who lives upstairs is the lead singer in 2 hardcore bands, and their relationship is that of a living breathing Tom and Jerry cartoon.
For the last month, these two will beat the shit out of each other with those giant foam water noodle things.There will be a knock on the door, Max will rush to get his weapon, open the door and no one is there. He takes a step into the hall and all you hear is "whack-whack-whack" and uncontrollable laughter ensues. It's constant and it's beautiful.
Max comes everywhere with me and he can navigate any situation. Hardcore shows, business stuff, events, you name it and he can navigate it. He cooks, he bakes, he reads, he fights, he plays music, he's working on laundry, he draws, he paints, he builds, he shoots photos and videos, and he does all these things because we do these things and because we are present...100% present.
He's not being raised by a TV a Ipad a Xbox or any of that bullshit because you reap what you sow.
"Brian, I don't have kids, and this is a really nice story and all but....", no, no, no...stick with me you seedless bastards, you can get something out of this too....
We are molded and shaped by all that surrounds us.
Where and how we live, our friends, our family, everything. All these things rub off on you, and make a lil bit of who you are.
When my house is a mess...I am a mess, when my house is in order...I am in order, when the shop is a disaster, we will literally stop what we're working on to get it to a more orderly shop knowing fully well in a couple of hours it will be a disaster again, but there needs to be that reset.
Just like you would surround your kid with an all around positive environment, you have to surround yourself with one as well.
I've known many people who are a mess, and when you look at their disgusting apartment, their alcoholic girlfriend, their soul sucking job with their shady boss, and their scumbag friends, I mean come the fuck on...ya gotta make better choices if you want a better life.
I'm not saying anything here that you don't already know, but knowing and executing don't live on the same block.
How the fuck are you gonna learn to swim if everyone around you doesn't know how to swim?
Find the dead weight and dispose of it, otherwise your doomed to the environment that you've created for yourself.....and pay attention to your goddamn kids, they need you.
Monday, January 22, 2018
A solid portion of it's life held my bird cage. Bird died, and the table got moved to the front window.
Well, it was a little high, and a little long for it's new location and it kinda bugged me. I planned on making a new one, but I plan on a lotta shit, so it very well could've been 3 more years until I got around to it, until...on a negative 9 degree day, I was driving past a dumpster in my neighborhood. I saw a board sticking out, so I pulled over and hopped in to see what treasures awaited me.
I started chucking boards out. Not just any old demolition lumber...old growth.
The house was most likely built in the late 1800's or very early 1900's.
Listen...there will come a day when this well aged wood will be virtually obsolete, you can't buy or create all the natural character it holds. It has such a primitive feel to it, and when well placed in a home, a piece as such is priceless.
And this piece...this shit is mine.
It's my heirloom. I wouldn't think of selling it because I remade it to fit the space and it's neighborhood specific. It has it's own history as well as the history I've given it.
The next piece is a rolling display table that we made for the Thorogood boot company.
They'll be using it to photograph their new products as well as marketing materials.
We drove 600 fucking miles to deliver this hunk of wood and steel.
We got a tour of the factory which was very inspiring and motivating as well.
Saturday, my kids Uncle picked him up to take him to the zoo.
Now, I've eluded to it before, but there is no one on earth I like hanging out with more than my son.
I know a lot of parents that can't wait to dump their kids off, but I can attest that I am not one of those.
So, I'm kinda kickin around the house, I drag myself in the shower, and I'm lost for what to do to occupy my time, so I decided to go get my truck washed for the first time in 2 years.
There's a place called "Don's Grill" next to where I got the truck washed.
It's one of those diner's with just a counter and from the outside all you see is everyone's back.
I'm hungry so I bop in, scoot up to the counter and order some heart attack assured comfort food.
A couple of stools down is a man in his mid 50's, decked out in grease and grime stained Carhartt coveralls.
This man was a heavy Machine operator, came here from Ireland in 95', grew up on a sheep farm, and saw Thin Lizzy more than anyone else in the world.
I know this because somehow me, the Mick and the cook embarked on a 2 hour conversation about everything from government, to European travels, to music, to kanye West...it was fucking magical.
Time had stood still.
I was Anthony fucking Bourdain.
I live in a bubble.
I love my bubble, but Saturday evening I left that bubble...just for a little while.
"Big deal B...you talked to a stranger...congrats."...Fuck you, shut up...don't shit on my moment.
I learned about black wool vs. white wool, I learned that Johnny Cash wrote 40 shades of green on a train rolling through Ireland, then handed the song off to the first Leprechaun he saw with a guitar and that now, at some point in any Irish bands career they WILL play 40 shades of green, I learned that this short order cook works that shitty diner to save all his money so he can go to Vietnam every year to search for a long lost love that even he knows could very well be dead or moved else where, but he goes anyway.
ME? I didn't give much. I have loads of stories, but I enjoyed LISTENING.
I prodded the conversation and took control of it's direction, but I wasn't there to compare stories, I was there to listen to theirs.
You can gain a lot by shutting your fucking cake hole every once in a while,
I ate, I listened, I learned.
They enjoyed telling their tales, probably not nearly as much as I enjoyed listening to them.
Conversation all too often becomes competition.
I've been involved in those types of conversations where everyone is trying to make their point the right one, or just to out do the previous persons story...you get nothing out of those conversations other than a general disdain for humanity.
Try to listen.
Listen to you kid, listen to your coworker, listen to your wife...just try to really listen.
You might just catch something useful or important.
Monday, January 15, 2018
It's like the 12th or something so I'm sure all of those life changing resolutions have been chucked in the ol' shit can by now.
What do we have here?
Sexy bar height table for a wonderful clients basement rec room.
She saw a need for a table when witnessing her daughter and her friends eating pizza on the floor like a bunch Lalapalooza 3 day pass holders.
The build itself was a little taxing due to all the hand cut gussets that required way more welding than one should have to endure, but you take the road less traveled to give the piece what it wants.
Happy motherfuckers and high 5's all around after that late night delivery.
The next is a old growth dining table.
We are by no means photographers and our shop is not photo friendly.
There were pictures emailed back and forth with the client, and they wanted the table a bit darker.
When you apply stain to old growth wood, no matter what color the stain, that shit gets really fuckin dark, like it looks like paint.
I don't know if it's enzymes in the wood over the last 100 years, or a dryness of the material, but whatever it is and whatever you do...don't stain old growth.
Lesson learned, and with 3 hours before it had to be loaded up for delivery...we stripped that fucker down to bare wood and clear coated it for the win.
The other morning, I had an idea.
Can I tell you something?
I haven't had a fucking idea in months.
We have been so busy just producing client pieces that I haven't thought about anything other than deposits and deadlines.
It felt so fucking good to have a wacky idea pop into my head, and then recognize that you're brain still has some creative neurons bouncing around in the ol' hat rack....and here's the kicker....I totally forgot what the idea was!
The idea isn't the point, the act of having one is what I'm talking about.
It's like dreaming. I never remember my dreams, but when I do....I'm so stoked that I was able to remember it, no matter how weird and fucked up that dream might have been.
Everything is born from an idea.
Which ideas you choose to capitalize on or at least attempt to capitalize on, well...that's the tricky part.
Ya gotta be ok with shitting the bed (gross figure of speech...my apologies).
I've attempted to capitalize on a ton of ideas that went absolutely nowhere.
I came up with these jean hangers that optimize closet space and help you actually see what you wanna wear...flop. Wrapped barbed wire candles which I thought were cool as hell...flop, we came up with a folding service bar...still a brilliant idea, but not a single fish chomping at the bait.
I'm getting depressed just looking back at those ideas that fizzled, but goddamn it if I don't keep getting back in the ring.
I can honestly say that I didn't work those items into a success. I mean, yeah, I fuckin' made em' and they worked, but what did I do to push them? Not a whole fuckin' lot.
With that being said, you have to embrace what you deem as a failure, because your failures are your teacher.
My failures made me discover my shortcomings, it made me look at where my market share is, how do I approach that market...etc.
Your failures don't make you a loser, your failures make you better.
Ya know what makes you a big fat smelly loser?
Not doing shit.
Talk talk talk all you want, but you're nothing until you do something.
It's amazing, the amount of people that have never built or created anything in their entire lives, that love to tell me what I should be doing and how I should be doing it...it's staggering.
I usually listen and nod and smile, and in my head I'm saying "shut the fuck up dummy".
I listen though, cause I'm still waiting for one of these guru's to vomit out a piece of advice where I'm like "well fuckin' aye, I'm gonna have to give that a whirl".
The flip side is, I've gotten great heart felt advice from people that actually produce something.
The moral of the story is this...don't be afraid to fail, and don't take advice from big fat smelly losers.