Saturday, April 21, 2018

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FUCK YEAHS...BABY



Last week, this bar cart got shipped down south to Nashville...well...kind of.
 Yelawolf was about to release his own brand of Whiskey, and www,creekwaterspirits.com had contacted us about a bar cart for it's release.
 I didn't know much about Yelawolf, I mean, I had heard of him, I knew he did some stuff with Travis Barker, and Kid Rock, but it's a musical arena that I don't venture into on a regular basis.
 I'm a researcher by hobby. If you said "hey B, check out these awesome rubber bands", I'm gonna spend 200 hours finding out everything there is to know about those fuckin rubber bands.
 So I did some homework.
I didn't have to, it was a done deal, but I was curious.
 I started by listening to his music. Then I looked into his Nashville store "SLUMERICAN MADE", where there is a barber shop, a tattoo shop, and a retail space, all run by his mother, Mamawolf.
 My interest was sparked. There's some real warm vibes coming from this research, so I continue.
Come to find out, Yela supports a lot of independent makers. SpeakEasy Originals makes his Slumerican flag rings, he sells Thorogood boots (a American, employee owned company we also did a project with) and a slew of other independents.
 So I'm feeling pretty good.
Someone famous is getting a piece from us who's pretty diligent about taking a lot of the little guys on to lift them up. Fuckin' aye....let's get this thing shipped.
 Built a crate, slid this fucker on in, called for a pick up, and....no show. (Monday)
45 minutes on the phone, and they say they will pick up first thing in the morning.
 Next day, around 2pm I call the freight company because the piece hasn't been picked up yet. An hour and 15 minutes on the phone and I'm promised it will be picked up first thing Wednesday. (Tuesday)
 Wednesday comes and essentially goes with more hours on the phone and no pick up, and I'm having a melt down. I go home and start planning my drive to Nashville because I'm gonna have to deliver this fucker, when I get a text from Zach at 6pm to tell me they picked it up.
 Relief...sort of.
Thursday I start tracking it and...no movement.
 Mind you, this needs to be there for the Whiskey release event on Sunday.
Friday, I track it again. It's in Nashville, but hasn't been offloaded and won't be delivered.
 I call David from Creek Water and they are going to pick it up from the terminal...They get there and they're closed.
 Monday...no delivery, Tuesday...no delivery..Wednesday...DELIVERED.
Mamawolf said she was gonna wait to have Yela uncrate it.
 Yela uncrates it and when asked if he dug it, his response was "fuck yeah".
That was the most work I've ever done to earn a "fuck yeah", but it was and always is a priceless fuck yeah.
..It's not "all about the Benjamins...baby", it's about the "fuck yeahs".
The "fuck yeahs" are what keep us pushing.
 Money...shit comes and shit goes, but "fuck yeahs" are the fuel.
There's a high that comes along with the happy customer. The happier they are, the higher we get, a we're a couple of dirty ass junkies.
 Get you some 100 proof Creek Water whiskey, stoke the bonfire, crank up "American You", and get your "FUCK YEAH" on.

Monday, April 9, 2018

FUCKIN BORING


Zach spent months trying to match granite for our customers future breakfast bar.
 This motherfucker turned over every rock in Chicago, until he finally found something to match the rest of their kitchen.
 We hopped in ol' Whitey and zoomed over to the clients house with the sample. We set the sample on the counter and behold...a perfect match.
 All 3 of us are looking at each other, zero fucking excitement transpiring, until we came to the conclusion that it would look really great...if it was 1997.
 Then the brainstorming started happening...what about butcher block? Yeah....fuck yeah...butcher block!
 We get samples of different species of butcher block. Instead of driving it over, we take some photos and email them over.
 The client really liked the butcher block, but she liked the table that the sample was photographed on better.
 We ended up doing a old growth top with a apron and legs that match the rest of the cabinetry.
Just like that, a dated kitchen became Pinterest material.
 A lot of people assume we make tables and weird sculptures and...that's about it. We make anything and everything, and it's always nonconventional.
 Do I want to do countertops every day? No I do not, but when we are able to inject creativity into the virtually mundane, I'd definitely do them more often than not.
 We headed up to Wisconsin for Ben Weasel's birthday this weekend.
For those that don't know what a Ben Weasel is...he's the singer for SCREECHING WEASEL, a punk rock band that I played in back in the early 90's..
 Me and Ben share a lot of stories, from drinking warm Budweiser on the record label owners floor at 9am when I got off work at Kinko's, to trying to incite Nazi skinheads to beat the shit out of us in a trailer park in Florida.
 Ben and I had a lot of fun in the formative years of that band. I was super young and everything was fun to me then, and if it wasn't fun, I damn sure attempted to make it fun.
 Ben went on to mold and shape that band into a iconic machine in punk rock history.
I....I moved on to this, but still carry a lot of the punk rock ethic and aspect of fun into this craft.
Getting out of Chicago and spending good times with old friends is something I don't get to do very often, but it's some of the healthiest shit one can do for themselves.
 As you read this patiently waiting for my big life lesson epiphany, or hear about my run in with a bunch of hillbilly's at a SleepInn hotel....I got nothin'.
 I had a great time and unfortunately for you...you get a fuckin boring blog post.
Sorry.

Monday, April 2, 2018

IT'S EASY.



Sometimes....there  is no easy way.
 Such is the case with this 3 piece set.
Design wise....looks pretty simple on paper, but once you get in the thick of it, the term "manual labor" is the understatement of the fucking century.
 The effort put into these pieces is paid back 10fold in the end result.
Easy....nothing is easy. Even the most simple thing we make, like the railroad spike hangers, aren't easy.
 First, ya gotta go hunting for the spikes, then you have to clean all the shit off em', then you have to cut em', then you have to cut plates, then drill and bore the plates, then weld the spike to the plate, then clean them again, then seal them. Easy.
 The day something becomes "easy" to me, is the day I'm fucking done.
It's like fighting someone that won't punch back. It's like, what's the point of just pummeling some mother fucker until I'm just tired of punching them?
 Why even fight a battle that you know you're gonna win?
I couldn't possibly be proud of some easy shit.
 I couldn't beat myself on the chest and proclaim "behold what thy hands have created!!!!".
I've seen a lot of people go to great lengths to find a easy way instead of just doing what needs to be done.
 You have to embrace the process.
The shit is going to fight you, but it's always better to know you're walking into a fight, then having one sneak up on you.
 To be challenged and to conquer is why guys like us do what we do.
We have a client that is looking for some custom brackets to hang a piece of art. I could have had some basic brackets welded up weeks ago and been done, but I feel that the brackets that hold the art should be as interesting as the art itself...and luckily, the customer agrees. This customer didn't come to us for some basic bullshit, and we're not in the basic bullshit business.
 Easy money, easy sex, fast food, next day delivery.....can I ask this question?
Why is everyone in such a big fuckin hurry? Where ya'll goin or gotta be that I don't know about?
 As you all know, I buy a lot of custom stuff. Custom wallets, custom belts, custom clothing, custom jewelry. ONE TIME and one time only did I ever contact someone making me something and say "hey man...what's up with my shit?", and that's because it had been 6 months since I placed my order It's like dude, I could've had a Rolls Royce built for me in 6 months and we're talking about a pair of fucking jeans here. As it turned out, the guy was a shit bag and what I recieved was the most disappointing thing ever, even more so after waiting what ended up being 7 months for.
 Fast and easy is gonna yield you some bullshit.
From time to time, we'll get a customer that comes to us with a project and they'll be like "I got a easy one for you guys", and I'll think to myself "if it's so easy, why don't you do it?"
 Here...do this....go buy a dresser from IKEA. It'll come in 22 boxes, it has all the pieces and all the hardware, it even has these little tools for you and some wonderfully illustrated instructions. Then, call me in 10 hours when it's finally assembled, and I'm gonna have you stand back and take a good look at it and imagine sourcing out all the material for it, then cutting all that material to the exact sizes, then sanding, painting or staining and clear coating it and THEN tell me about how easy shit is.
 So in closing, just be aware that anytime you ask someone to build, make or fix something for you, it's not "easy", and once you master that mindset, you'll have a new appreciation for the things that you can't, or don't have time to do yourself.

Monday, March 26, 2018

AND NOW...BACK TO THE BITCHING



So the deal with this table is...
 A woman had purchased a home circa 1940. She went to great lengths to preserve the homes original decor and greater lengths to keep this home period specific.
 There are 2 things that were going on in the 40's.
1. designers were hitting their stride with the whole midcentury modern style.
2. Industry such as manufacturing was in the midst of a boom.
 Those 2 milestones directed the production of this piece.
A little midcentury and a lot of industrial.
 Happy motherfuckers and high 5's across the board on this one.
I haven't bitched in a while.
 Lately it's been all hippy self awareness and enlightenment shared on the last few posts.
I'm gonna bitch though, cause I can not for the life of me figure out exactly what the fuck is up with people lately.
 We've had a few customers waste our time recently on walking through their space and spending hours quoting their build outs, only to have them try to drag us into some kind of negotiation process that would essentially leave us...eating shit.
They want glass and steel and everything custom, and the finest woods on earth, and we're like "no fucking problem.", then when they're given their quote, they reveal that their budget could afford them a DIY shed from fucking Menards...not even Menards....fucking Crafty Beaver at best.
 THEN....they get upset.
You entitled fucks.
 You waste our time, you did zero fucking research to get a rough idea of what your build out might cost, and then you come at us with a budget that is slightly larger then what my 8 year old has stashed in his bottom drawer?!
 I'm not talking about having a table made....I'm talking complete office build outs.
AND...it's not just one instance! It's like a fucking trend.
 When your toilet is launching your turds into the air like a erupting volcano, and you call a plumber and he says "yep, I can fix it. it'll be $500", do you try to negotiate with him while dodging yesterdays meal schedule?! No....you RUN to get your checkbook.
 When your tires blow off your car in the middle of Bumfuck Egypt and the tow truck driver says it'll be $300 to tow your piece of shit car out of there, do you try to negotiate? You don't because Cletus the tow truck driver would sit and watch you get eaten by a fucking bear before he cut his rate for your stranded ass.
 I'm Cletus the tow truck driver now.
The crazy thing is...we actually attempted to eat a little shit.
 We offered cheaper design ideas, cut out certain materials, offered to keep on their current schedule while they were dragging ass.
 Yeah...fuck that shit. Never again.
The best is that they'll cry. "But I want all this and I need it by next week!"
Dude...first off, I just met you the other day and spent exactly 20 minutes with you, I couldn't tell you your own last name because I have no fucking idea what it is, and for some reason, you expect ME to be concerned with YOUR budget and timeline?  GETDAFUKOUTTAHERE.
 I'm done.
But hey....check this shit out...I got a product named after me!
 It's not like having a bridge or a highway named after you, but for a blue collar piece of shit like me...I'll take it!
 I needed another hip pouch because my kid took the one that was made for me by J10 customs a few years back.
www.yukonharbortradingcompany.com knocked it outta the park.
 It's a husband and wife up in Washington that gave up corporate life to find happiness doing what they  love.
 That's the kind of small business that I love to support.
Show em' some love, and this pouch...it's great because as the weather gets warmer and you no longer need a jacket, it provides a place to put all the shit you used to cram in your jacket pockets.
 Ya'll go kill it this week, and thanks for listening to me bitch.

Monday, March 12, 2018

THE DUMMY PATH


Leather and hand bent steel bar stools.
 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.
 Fuckin' aye.
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???
 Failure.
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

MY BRAIN IS AN ASSHOLE

I was born in the 70's and grew up in the 80's.
 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

WE DON'T SING




If you've ever sat back and said "these guys are a one trick pony", you should find a nice corner to stand in and punch yourself in the face a few times.
 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.