Saturday, May 12, 2018

FRIENDLANDIA... population: zero


The ingredients to enjoying a build are these...
1. no concrete deadline
2. minimal direction
 When you're not fighting the clock or adhering to a specific list of requirements, you...as the builder...are allowed to just be.
 When a customer allows you to just do what you do, you usually do the do, and it's a safe bet that they won't end up with doo-doo, and when they see their piece, they're like "duuuuuude"
 We took all the old growth cut offs and ripped them down to various thickness's to create dimension for the door and side panels. Why? Because we fuckin' felt like it. Sure we could've glued up some panels and been done, but it's never about being done, it's about creating something that we're proud of. Something that we can say "damn...I want one of these.
 If I was a guy that actually had "friends" I would be friends with our customer, Andy.
I've put myself on the deserted  Island of "Friendlandia". Not because I'm some bitter fuck wad that hates people, quite the contrary, I love people...I'm just a sucky friend.
 There are a lot of people close to me that I'd go to war for at the drop of a hat, and I suppose they can be called "friends", but when I say that I'm a sucky friend, what I mean is, I don't do friend shit.
 I don't go out to dinner, I don't join people to concerts, I don't have friends over to do whatever people do when they come over, I don't wanna go to a baseball,basketball,football, or hockey game with anyone, I don't wanna meet you there and then pick up that guy over there to go there and meet up with those guys over there later.
 It's not like those things don't sound fun to me, it's that I just don't have time...or energy...or the patience.
 Maybe it's age? I dunno.
I'm trying to build a empire, and quite honestly, I can't listen to a mother fuckers girl problems.
 It's like a grown ass man is telling me about high school girl problems and I'm thinking of ways to bend 1/2" steel without having to purchase a $40,000 machine. I just can't fucking relate.
 I can't relate...that's it...I've solved my own mystery!
It's not that I don't care (for the most part) about other peoples problems, it's that I can't relate.
 When someone tells me how tired they are because the just got home from Cancun and had to go to work the next day where they sit in front of a computer...my give a fuck bag is empty.
 Really? you're tired? I just carried 2000lbs of steel, delivered 2 heavy ass night stands to a second floor bedroom on the fucking moon after being up all night with a kid with a dangerously high fever and a dying dog vomiting from one end of my house to the other, then trying to get to the post office to ship customers orders, then come home to no hot water, then take my kid to get a Lego cause he's been home sick all day and bored out of his mind, then come home and cook dinner, then help reverse engineer the Lego my kid fucked up, and after running on 2.5 hours of sleep, I'm forced to stay up till midnight while my kid finishes his Lego cause he's not gonna be like "oh I'll just wrap this shit up tomorrow"...cause he's fucking 8, so meanwhile I try to market my tshirts on social media because I have to stay awake somehow and there's not shit on Netflix and even if there was, if I sit down for 2 seconds I will pass out and my son could very well take the keys to my truck and kill 12 people while I drool on my arm...and you're fucking tired?
 So yeah...I have a hard time relating.
Trust me...I'd love to just "hang out", that shit would be awesome, but I get 24 hours, and there is a metric shit ton of stuff I have to cram into that 24 hour box, and hanging out isn't even on the list.
 Hanging out is a fucking Rolex to me. I'd love to have a Rolex but I gotta settle for this Snoopy watch that came in a Happy Meal box.
 Those who run their own business and have kids, ya'll get it. Single folks rockin' that 9 to 5, think I'm a fuckin' recluse asshole.
 So...in closing, and even though it's Saturday and I technically shouldn't have shit to do, but I do...I love you all, and I'd love to hang out and talk shit all day and night with all of you, but I can't, so please be understanding.
Thank you

Sunday, May 6, 2018

HOW TO WORK BALL SHAVING INTO A BLOG POST




When we walked into our customers new apartment in Bucktown, we instantly knew that based off the building itself, whatever we were about to build, was gonna have to be slicker than goose shit.
 Very modern building, new construction, all the clean lines and modern fixtures that look cool upon site, but tend to be slightly cold. You kinda get a feeling....kinda like...a nice hotel.
 He needed a dresser and a couple of night stands.
I can call a spade a spade, I'm very aware that our stuff is pretty fuckin' masculine, but in this instance, we didn't necessarily need to chop the balls off our style, we just needed to shave them and make em smell good.
 If we are talking in terms of stylistic testicles here, then these pieces are one good looking set of balls.
We always have multiple projects going on. My partner Zach dedicated himself to this project. There are so many tedious steps involved in dressers that you can't just pick away at it, you have to be fully committed.
 These pieces are a testament to the fact that you can accommodate a customers aesthetic without compromising your style.
 Next up is a collaboration I did with Willaim Purcell of Witness Company.
A couple of months ago, William had made me a sterling silver skull ring with my birth year engraved on one side, and a pair of crossed arrows on the other side. His engravings were always a detail that drew me to his work.
 I'm moved by art.
The thing about the engravings on this ring is that my hand would have to be in your face to see it, and lets be honest...if my hand is in your face like that, you're not paying attention to my ring engraving, you're probably going to be visiting a dentist.
 I wanted the world to get a better view of his work, and what better way then this T shirt.
The significance of "WORK" on the front refers to the fact that anything worth doing is going to take hard work. Building things, making art, raising kids, making a life for a family, caring for loved ones...no matter what you do, you're gonna have to work at it.
 The significance of the arrows....and you'll notice the arrows have a sort of bend to them, is that the road to victory isn't a straight line. There are going to be a lot of curves and obstacles to overcome in battle.
 This is what it meant to me, and like any art, it's totally open to interpretation.
The shirts are very limited and will be available at www.pilsenmfg.bigcartel.com .
 The shirts are also a prelude to what is about to come with Williams new company called WitnessCo Speedshop. His new site will be a more apparel based site rooted deeply in moto culture.
 Pick up a shirt, it's easy on the wallet and you're supporting the hustle.
Truth be told, in this day and age, you can't just hope some corporation is gonna keep your family fed. Ya gotta hustle. Ya gotta find a angle. Ya gotta do something you enjoy and give people something unique in order to gain their support. You can't just be a runner in the marathon, you gotta be the mother fucker that created the marathon.
 Thanks in advance for your support.
 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

ME ME FUCKING ME

A few posts back you'll see a rolling bar with a Jack Daniels logo that we made for our friend Nadine.
 If you're gonna do a bad ass basement remodel, and have us build you a rolling bar, ya gotta say "fuck it", and go all in and get a back bar made with space for 2 beverage coolers. It's like going to GUCCI and buying one shoe. Actually, we're nothing like GUCCI because our stuff is made in the USA and not some sweat shop in Malaysia. Yeah I said it...That $4500 handbag that you think is made in some pristine work shop at the House of GUCCI, is made in some shitty warehouse by 8 year olds with bleeding fingers in some third word country for $10.
 ANYWAY...It's always a pleasure to add our work to what a hard working couple has created in their home. When we left, we were talking about their remodel and how we'd probably never leave the basement if it were our home.
 There are a lot of new and exciting things happening.
We're doing a collaboration with Witness Company which will be these motorcycle helmet hangers and sold through WitnessCo Speed shop.
 I have a new Tshirt which was designed by William Purcell who is the founder of Witness Company. That Tshirt will be available at www.pilsenmfg.bigcartel.com
 I have the Breclaimed side pouch available through www.yukonharbortradingcompany.com
I, personally feel like I'm in a creative place where I want to spread my wings.
 Even my approach in how I work has transitioned into this really smooth peaceful flow. It's not like I've ever not liked what I was doing, it's just now I feel a sense of calm in it. Maybe I'm dying?
 As far as the other projects and collaborations....I just fucking want more.
I love supporting other makers, but I had a moment where I was like...I want my own shit. I know what I like, but I sometimes have to settle for purchasing what someone else essentially likes.
 For Instance, the side pouch. J10 customs made me a killer one a few years ago, and someone in my family had taken permanent possession of it, so I needed a new one. There are some out there for purchase, but I wanted one that strictly fit my needs. I ran the idea past Yukon Harbor Trading, and she was just as stoked to produce it as I was to wear it, and now anyone can share in it's functionality.
 I've been a big fan of Witness Company for awhile now, and I have a fondness for the tattoo style artwork that William does in his engravings. Summer is gonna come (eventually) and I wear tshirts, and destroy tshirts over the course of a season so I was shopping around. Nothing really interested me, so I'm like fuck it...I'll make my own. The way I see it, if no one likes them, I'll have enough tshirts to last me the summer and a big chunk of Christmas and birthday gifts are taken care of.
 I mean for fucks sake, I'm constantly telling you all to get out of your comfort zone, take chances, think outside of the box, and blah blah fucking blah, and yet, there's a laundry list of shit that I want to do, that I haven't been doing.
 Let's be real fuckin honest here, I've kind of made a career out of being a "practice what you preach" type of mother fucker, so I need to step my game up.
 I eat failure for breakfast so I have nothing to lose in my ventures.
Sharing shit you make is a little scary. You can be so stoked about something and think the whole world is gonna finally recognize you for the amazing bastard that you are, and then when the realization comes that nobody gives a flying fuck about your tshirt, or helmet hanger, or whatever...it's like getting kicked in the nuts. Luckily...my nuts are made of steel in that respect.
 I'm so used to being on the losing team, that even the smallest victory is monumental.
It's funny, I'll read shit about the old band I was in back in the 90's, and people will say how we made one of the best pop punk records ever, and how we should've been playing stadiums, and how Green Day should have been our Roadies, and all these wonderful things that mean absolutely fucking nothing today. Thanks for the accolades 25 years later you assholes.
 So that's that....I'm gonna make more of what I want to make. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, I dunno, but I'm gonna keep on keepin' on.

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.